Bird Flu Alert in Hong Kong; Ban on Live Poultry Sales

HONG KONG - Thousands of birds have been culled in Hong Kong after a chicken carcase was found infected with bird flu at a poultry market.
calendar icon 22 December 2011
clock icon 4 minute read

The carcase was taken from Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market (Wholesale Poultry Market) and tested positive with the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus.

CHP is carrying out medical surveillance of poultry wholesalers and workers in the Wholesale Poultry Market as well as local chicken farmers to follow up on their health condition.

The cities response level has been raised from "alert" to "serious".

It is believed that up to 17,000 chickens have been culled.

21-Day Ban Slapped on Live Poultry Sales

Authorities have suspended the import of live poultry for 21 days as a result of the discovery of a chicken infected by the avian flu virus H5N1.

The price of frozen chicken shot up immediately.

A chicken seller surnamed Chow from Centre Street Market, Sai Ying Pun told China Daily his business will be profoundly affected.

The suspension of imports of live poultry for 21 days by the authority means he will not able to stock live chicken to sell, starting Wednesday.

Mr Chow said all he could sell to his customers were frozen chickens.

"I usually sell about 200-300 live chickens a day. As the Winter Solstice is approaching, the sales of the chickens would be four or five times higher than the ordinary sales," said Mr Chow.

He added that the price of a live chicken is HK$100. However, because of the import prohibition he estimated he would lose about HK$50,000-60, 000 a day.

A customer, whose surname is Lau, said she had planned to buy one live chicken for the Winter Solstice dinner for her family on Thursday.

She expressed disappointment when she heard the sales were suspended.

Another customer, whose surname is Tang, said: "The price of frozen chicken also increased. The original price is about HK$40-50; now it is HK$150 each."

The suspension also affected the live chicken supply of restaurants, which now had to take alternative measures.

A receptionist for Above and Beyond in Hotel Icon said the restaurant will use frozen chicken until supplies of fresh chickens return to the market.

A spokeswoman for Maxim's Group said there is no influence on its operations for the time being caused by the suspension of live chicken.

The restaurant is considering replacing chicken with fish or pork if necessary.

Simon Wong, president of Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades, said normally there should be about 20,000 live chicken supplied to the market every day, with 70 per cent going to the household and the rest to the restaurants.

He said frozen chicken had been the option for around 80 percent of the restaurants in the city.

The suspension will last till 12 January.

Further Reading

- You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.

Charlotte Johnson

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