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SFH on avian influenza A(H7N9)
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Following is the transcript of remarks made by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, after chairing a meeting of the Steering Committee on Serious Response Level under the Preparedness Plan for Influenza Pandemic tonight (January 27):

Secretary for Food and Health: The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) has confirmed that a sample taken from a chicken imported from the Mainland was tested positive of H7N9 avian influenza (AI) virus in the H7 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. The chicken concerned came from a registered farm in Foshan, Guangdong.

According to the contingency plan, the Government has decided to implement a series of measures, which are established measures in accordance with our contingency plan, to prevent the spread of the virus. AFCD has declared the (Cheung Sha Wan Temporary) Wholesale Poultry Market as an infected place. The consignment of live poultry carries H7 AI virus would be destroyed tomorrow. The live poultry co-stored with that consignment (of poultry) in the wholesale market will also be destroyed. The total number of chicken concerned amounted to 20 000. With reference to the advice of the World Organisation for Animal Health, we will close the wholesale market for 21 days for thorough cleansing and disinfection, until February 18. The Mainland will suspend the supply of live poultry to Hong Kong from the registered farm found to be the source of the outbreak for 21 days. The Mainland authority will also conduct investigation to ensure that the farm complies with all the biosecurity measures. The supply of live poultry from the relevant farm to Hong Kong will only resume after both sides have agreed on the investigation result.

Local poultry farms will also stop dispatching chickens to the market for 21 days. In view of the accumulation of chickens in local farms, AFCD would step up inspection on local farms and collect more samples for tests in order to monitor if any of the local farms would be infected.

The Centre for Health Protection would contact poultry wholesalers and workers in the (Cheung Sha Wan Temporary) Wholesale Poultry Market as well as the Man Kam To (Animal Inspection Station) to follow up on their health condition. The Centre for Health Protection and the Hospital Authority will also issue reminder again to all doctors and healthcare workers to remind them on the vigilance required.

Reporter: (On the risk at the retail level of live chickens and the amount of compensation for the local chicken farmers)

Secretary for Food and Health: Firstly, I need to reiterate that all imported poultry, after their specimen have been taken at the Man Kam To Animal Inspection Station for AI testing, will be held at the Cheung Sha Wan Temporary Wholesale Poultry Market until the test results are available and confirmed negative. Secondly, there is a well-established mechanism of compensation in case there would be a need of destroying the poultry population. There has been an established mechanism of compensation.

Reporter: (On the risk at the retail level of live chickens)

Secretary for Food and Health: I would like to repeat that all these poultry imported will be held at the poultry wholesale market until the testing results are available and confirmed negative.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Monday, January 27, 2014
Issued at HKT 23:39

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