News

    Hong Kong Bans Sale of Live Poultry to Combat Deadly Bird Flu

    Prospero LaputKate Pound Dawson

    Authorities in Hong Kong, battling the worst outbreak of avian flu in five years, have ordered the slaughter of all live birds in the city's markets and banned the sale of live poultry. In 1997, the city was the first place to report human cases of bird flu.  Although the current outbreak is only in fowl, some critics say the government has acted too slowly. Others say the sale ban is hurting business. VOA's Kate Pound Dawson has this report, prepared by producer Pros Laput in Hong Kong.

    Within days after the deadly H5N1 strain was discovered, all live chickens in Hong Kong markets had been killed and imports of live poultry from mainland China were suspended.

    "In our surveillance we were able to detect H5N1 in our environment,” said York Chow, Hong Kong's Food and Health Secretary. “We are able to …very quickly show that in four of the markets, that they have very similar virus. And that's the reason why we took very timely action to cull all the chicken and make sure the public is safe." 

    China is the main source of Honk Kong's poultry.  The government's order did not apply to sales of pre-slaughtered and packaged poultry.

    Infectious disease expert Dr. Lo Wing-lok says the government did not move fast enough.  

    "In the past, should there be human cases of H5N1 in Guangdong, all poultry importation from Guangdong will be stopped. But now this no longer stands,” Lo added.

    Lo says the government had too much confidence in its system of certifying poultry farms in mainland China. A farm there can send poultry to Hong Kong unless the bird flu virus is found on the farm. 

    "This is a big mistake because ... there could be a mixture of poultry from authorized farm and poultry from unauthorized farm all in the name of the authorized farm," Lo explains.

    One man's family has sold chickens here for more than 30 years.  He says illegal chickens are being brought into the city to meet the demand for fresh poultry.

    A live chicken retailer said, "And with the demand-supply theory, since the price keeps going up, there will be smuggling for sure."

    Outside the Legislative Council building, he and other chicken sellers call on the government to produce a policy on imports that will save their businesses.  The government has promised to compensate shop owners whose chickens were confiscated and killed.  

    The government says regulations on poultry imports will have to balance health safety with food needs. The ban on live poultry from mainland China is to last for 21 days.  But Lo is worried. 

    "I'm worried about the complacency of the government. If the government is complacent on H5N1, the government can be complacent in other infectious diseases .... All these can have a major impact in the community," he said.

    The H5N1 virus has killed more than 240 people worldwide, since 2003.  Most caught the disease from sick birds. But experts fear the virus will mutate into a form that is easily passed to humans.  In crowded Hong Kong, that would be a disaster.

     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora