HONG KONG - Hong Kong's agriculture department carried out a preparation exercise codenamed "Camellia" in case a poultry culling operation is required in response to an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
The staff practised work procedures and biosecurity measures necessary for carrying out culling, such as procedures for wearing and removing protective gear as well as the disinfection and disposal of carcasses.
A field command centre and a mock chicken farm were set up at the exercise venue for participants to carry out their frontline duties, which included mobilising staff and resources, setting up different operation areas in the index farm, and following personal biosecurity guidelines when entering and leaving the index farm.
Accompanied by the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, Dr Leung Siu-fai, the Acting Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, and the Permanent Secretary for Food and Health (Food), Mrs Cherry Tse, observed the frontline operations.
Professor Chan stressed the importance of putting in place the contingency response plan to ensure the Department's preparedness and readiness in case a culling operation in Hong Kong is necessary.
"Avian influenza outbreaks still occur in different parts of the world from time to time. In addition to H5N1 and H7N9, there were cases of other types of avian influenza as well.
"While the Government continues to implement diligently the prevention and control measures, I urge the poultry trade and the general public to remain vigilant and help guard against the avian influenza virus," said Professor Chan.
Professor Chan pointed out that apart from rolling forward various prevention and control measures, the Government had also stepped up surveillance before the winter season.
These measures include conducting surprise inspections targeting local poultry farms and pet bird shops, the collection of more samples from the wholesale poultry market and retail outlets for tests on avian influenza, and enhanced actions to combat the illegal importation of live birds at boundary control points.ThePoultrySite News Desk