Hong Kong Secretary for Health, Welfare & Food York Chow assured people that Hong Kong has sufficient monitoring measures and rich experience to handle avian flu cases, adding inspections and tests have been strengthened.
Speaking on a radio talk show on Saturday, Chow said the Oriental magpie robin found dead in Kam Shan Tsuen, Tai Po, is H5N1-positive, but the source of infection is still under investigation, according to a government press release.
As it may have been infected by migratory birds, Chow said more dead birds may be found with the deadly virus.
The Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department has stepped up checks, and concerned departments' staff have been reminded to take precautions when handling bird carcasses.
On the import of live chickens, Chow said the daily quantity of live Chinese mainland chicken imports will rise for five days to meet Lunar New Year demand, after considering the risk of avian flu outbreaks. Imports will rise from 30,000 chickens to 50,000 on Jan. 24 and 25 and to 70,000 on Jan. 26, 27 and 28.
He stressed quarantine has been strengthened and more rest days have been set to protect public health. While the government plans to implement central slaughtering in the long run, there is no plan to change the existing policy at the moment.
Noting the key to prevent avian flu outbreak is separating live poultry from people, Chow said the existing law will be revised this year to ban people from keeping 20 birds or less in their yards for consumption or as pets.