Hong Kong suspended the sale of live poultry after a sample of chicken droppings from a Tuen Mun (屯門) market tested positive for the dreaded bird flu H7N9 virus.
That meant it was unlikely there would be fresh chicken for the Dragon Boat Festival (端午節).
The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD, 食物環境衞生署) said a sample of live poultry droppings collected from a stall in Yan Oi Market (仁愛街市) in Tuen Mun (屯門) on 16 May tested positive for H7N9 on 5 June.
An interdepartmental meeting was scheduled to be convened on 6 June by Secretary for Food and Health (食物及衞生局局長) Ko Wing-man (高永文) to try to determine whether the infected poultry was supplied by local or mainland farms, how long the suspension would last and the fate of live poultry at the Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market (長沙灣臨時家禽批發市場).
“We know that, at present, the supply of live poultry from the mainland is at a very low level,” Ko said after the test result was announced. “However, we still cannot make a 100 percent conclusion on the source of H7N9 virus in that particular specimen [tested].”
Hong Kong Poultry Wholesalers’ Association (香港活家禽批發商會) chairman Tsui Ming-tuen (徐名團) said no live poultry from the mainland had been imported before the suspension.
He said as the sample was found at a wet market, it would not be necessary to suspend chicken supplies for 21 days, adding that Hong Kong could follow Macau’s example of cleaning wet markets for three days before resuming supplies.
(This article is published on Sing Tao Daily on 13 June 2016)
Frequently asked questions on human infection caused by the avian influenza A (H7N9) virus
Scientists say the H7N9 bird flu is mutating to infect humans