Philippines halts poultry imports from Australia over bird flu fears

The Philippines has temporarily banned the import of domestic and wild birds as well as their products from Australia after highly pathogenic H7N7 avian flu was detected on a farm site.
calendar icon 19 August 2020
clock icon 3 minute read

Reuters reports that Australia confirmed the outbreak of avian flu at an egg farm in Victoria. Australia accounts for less than 1 percent of poultry imports to the Philippines.

The ban covers poultry meat, day old chicks, eggs and semen, the Department of Agriculture said in its 14 August order made public on Wednesday.

Avian flu can infect humans, although there is limited evidence of human-to-human transmission, according to health experts. Human infections are primarily acquired through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments.

All incoming shipments from Australia with import clearance issued on or before 6 August will be allowed entry, provided the birds were slaughtered or processed on or before 3 July, or 21 days prior to the outbreak, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.

The Philippines has seen its own outbreaks of avian flu, with the latest involving the highly infectious H5N6 subtype of the virus detected at an egg farm in San Luis town in Pampanga province in July.

The Southeast Asian country on Friday 14 August also declared a temporary ban on Brazilian poultry meat products, after two cities in China found traces of the new coronavirus in cargoes of imported frozen food, including chicken wings from the South American country.

Brazil has the world's second-worst COVID-19 outbreak after the United States, recording more than 3.4 million cases and deaths of close to 110,000 since the pandemic began.

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