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December 2, 2013

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Poultry market to shut over bird flu fears

Shanghai will suspend live poultry trading from January 31, the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, until April 30 to prevent a recurrence of the bird flu.

The suspension will be an annual feature for the next five years, dependent on the evaluation and warning of the bird flu and the seasonal onset, according to a joint statement issued by the Shanghai Agricultural Commission and the Shanghai Commerce Commission.

All the designated wholesale and retail markets will be banned from trading in poultry and violators face hefty fines between 10,000 yuan (US$1,641) and 30,000 yuan under a new rule that took effect in June.

Unlicensed street vendors who sell live poultry during the period will be punished by urban management teams.

Poultry from other cities and provinces must be sent to designated slaughterhouses and cannot enter the local market directly, it said.

Residents are being urged to report any illegal trades of live poultry to market watchdogs on hotline 12315 of the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau, 12331 of the Shanghai Food and Drug Administrative Bureau, 12316 of the Shanghai Agricultural Commission, and city’s urban management at 52921111 or 63166666.

In April this year, all live poultry markets were shut down in Shanghai after 43 people died of H7N9 bird flu in China.

The ban was lifted in June and about 110 poultry markets returned to business.

Experts have said there was a possibility of H7N9 recurrence and suggested a complete ban on live poultry business.

China’s mainland has reported five cases of H7N9 this autumn — three of them in neighboring Zhejiang Province.

The mainland has reported 134 cases by the end of September, with 45 fatalities, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.



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