0946 GMT February 19, 2020
Sales of all live chickens in the city might be stopped if wholesalers fail to implement measures to control the H7N9 virus, Hong Kong’s secretary for food and health, Ko Wing-man, said in a South China Morning Post report on Friday, Press TV reported.
On December 31, Hong Kong health officials said they would cull 15,000 chickens after a batch of chickens imported from the nearby Chinese city of Huizhou tested positive for the virus through a “rapid testing” program.
The tests were carried out after a previous batch of chickens from the same area tested positive for the H7 strain of the virus.
Hong Kong has announced it was raising its response level in hospitals to “serious” from “alert” with extra precautions implemented in response to a new case of the virus – the city's first since early 2014.
Three out of 10 people diagnosed with the H7N9 in Hong Kong have died so far. All have contracted the virus from mainland China, according to Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong has banned poultry imports from certain regions of Japan, Germany, Italy and Canada in recent weeks after bird flu strains were discovered there.
In January, Hong Kong slaughtered 20,000 chickens after the virus was found in poultry imported from the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.
Meanwhile, authorities in Japan started culling another 37,000 chickens in the west of the country on December 30 after tests confirmed a highly pathogenic strain of H5 avian influenza.