by Staff Writers
Taipei (AFP) April 16, 2013
Taiwan is planning a permanent ban on the killing of live poultry in traditional markets amid concerns over the spread of the H7N9 avian flu virus in China, an official said Tuesday.
The new rule will come into effect on June 17, as an agricultural law requires a grace period for relevant preparation, according to Huang Kwo-ching, a spokesman for the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine.
However, he said the ban would be implemented immediately if a human case of the H7N9 bird flu were reported in Taiwan.
Market vendors will still be allowed to sell poultry supplied from the island's 79 licensed slaughter houses after the new rule comes into effect, he added.
Sixty-three people in China are known to have been infected with the bird flu strain, which has killed 14 of its victims.
Travel between Taiwan and China, which is separated by a narrow strait, is frequent and Taipei has stepped up temperature checks at airports on passenger arrivals from several Chinese cities where infections have been reported.
Last week Taiwanese authorities destroyed more than 100 birds smuggled from the mainland and seized by the coastguard in a fishing port in northern Taiwan.
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