Home>News Center>China

Beijing closes live poultry markets
By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-08 05:46

All the 168 live poultry markets in Beijing were shut yesterday as the authorities beefed up efforts to contain the spread of the bird flu virus.

The municipal government also closed pet-bird markets, banned chicken raising in urban areas, and asked citizens to keep their pigeons in cages.

Residents have been told to vaccinate all animals, including pets, against bird flu and food-and-mouth disease; and those who refuse to do so can be taken into custody or fined.

The tough measures in the capital are being replicated around the country as a meeting of hundreds of international experts opened in Geneva with warnings that a global human flu pandemic is inevitable.

"It is only a matter of time before an avian flu virus ... acquires the ability to be transmitted from human to human, sparking the outbreak of human pandemic influenza," World Health Organization Director General Lee Jong-wook told the gathering.

Experts fear the bird flu virus that is sweeping through Asia and has entered Europe could mutate into a form that is easily passed between humans, producing a pandemic that could kill millions and cost the global economy up to US$800 billion.

People are not easily infected by the virus and it is passed on almost exclusively through human contact with birds. But should it spark a human pandemic, the cost to industrialized countries could be huge, the World Bank said.

China has not reported any human case of bird flu but the authorities on Sunday would not rule out that three people could have been infected in Xiangtan, Central China's Hunan Province. One of the three, a 12-year-old girl, died last month while her 9-year-old brother and a 36-year-old middle school teacher are reported to have recovered.

The World Bank report said previous studies on flu pandemics had suggested any new outbreak could kill between 100,000 and 200,000 people in the United States alone, which it said translated into economic losses for the country of between US$100 billion and US$200 billion.

"If we extrapolate from the US to all high-income countries, there could be a present-value loss of US$550 billion. The loss for the world would, of course, be significantly larger, because of the impact in the developing world," the report said.

Authorities in China are taking such dire warnings seriously as evidenced by a string of measures.

Health Minister Gao Qiang yesterday ordered health departments across the country to act quickly in the prevention and control of human infection of bird flu.

Addressing a national televized conference, Gao told them to strengthen work in monitoring, control and treatment, stressing that rapid response is crucial.

(China Daily 11/08/2005 page1)

Commemoration of Zheng He in Nanjing
Chickens culled in Liaoning
Donations to help leukaemia children
  Today's Top News     Top China News

Beijing, Washington strike deal on China textiles



Feasibility of cross-Straits tunnel discussed



Beijing closes live poultry markets



'Sexual revolution' in place



Insurer offers coverage for human infections



42 killed, 21 missing in two mine accidents


  Air pollution 'will be tackled' by 2008
  China seeks WHO help in testing for bird flu
  Greater efforts on bird flu control urged
  Giant windmill projects coming up in 4 provinces
  Teaching English still top job for foreign experts
  15 people dead in bridge collapse
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  News Talk  
  It is time to prepare for Beijing - 2008  
Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.