Hong Kong will cull approximately 20,000 chickens after discovering the H7N9 avian influenza virus in a batch of poultry imported from mainland China, authorities said on Monday.
On Friday, the city introduced a serological test for H7 avian
influenza in live poultry and soon discovered a batch that tested
positive for the virus.
"A government department has confirmed
that the sample chicken from the chicken imported from the mainland
tested positive for H7N9 avian influenza virus," Hong Kong health
minister Ko Wing-man told reporters late Monday.
"All the poultry
in the wholesale market will be destroyed tomorrow morning... the total
number of chickens concerned amounts to 20,000," Ko said, declaring the
market to be an "infected place".
The government's decision comes
less than a week before Lunar New Year, which starts on Friday, when
live chicken is a popular dish at banquets and family gatherings.
we have to close the wholesale poultry market... for the next 21 days,
there will be no supply of live chicken," Ko said, suggesting that
residents eat frozen chicken instead.
The market in the Cheung Sha
Wan region of the city, which holds imported poultry into the city
until cleared of infection, will be closed for disinfection.