Yesterday three more cases were confirmed so the virus has now spread to five counties and cities. In the midst of a spreading virus, council of Agriculture Minister Lin Tsung-hsien announced that from midnight on Feb. 17 to midnight on Feb. 24, all transport and slaughter of poultry will halt for 7 days, except for battery chickens and washed eggs. The COA hopes to prevent further spread of the virus through the timely deployment of these measures.
During this epidemic of the highly infectious H5N6 virus, there have been numerous cases of farmers dumping dead birds. On Feb. 16, the COA confirmed new cases of H5N6 in Tainan's Guantian, Chiayi and Yunlin. The COA decided to take strict measures and announced that from Feb. 17 to 24, poultry transport and slaughter would be halted.
==LIN TSUNG-HSIEN Minister, Council of Agriculture==
For seven days we will halt the transport and slaughter of poultry nationally.
The COA said that although currently, the epidemic is in mid-phase, as the virus has spread to five cities and counties and the incubation period for the virus is seven days, the decision was made to halt transport and slaughter for seven days.
==HUANG CHIN-CHENG Deputy Minister, Council of Agriculture==
It is only after clinical symptoms appear in infected poultry that we can completely eradicate the disease.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare said that it was pleased to see the halt on transport and slaughter. Although there had only been 17 cases of H5N6 vector infection to humans, as the death rate was 70 percent, it could not be taken lightly.
==LUO YI-JUN Dep. Dir-Gen., MOHW CDC==
In fact, 70 percent is over the SARS and H7N9 virus.
The ban on transport and slaughter is for ducks, geese and free-range chickens only. Battery raised chickens and eggs are not included. The latter account for two thirds of poultry sales and there is enough stock of previously slaughtered birds to last for three days. There is also a two-day stock of free-range chickens. The COA says although there is some minor inconvenience for consumer involved in the measure, but it is preferable to further spread of the epidemic which could lead to more substantial losses.
TRANSLATED BY：CLARE LEAR
記者林靜梅 吳嘉堡 SNG 台北報導
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