Gov’t ramps up efforts to tackle bird flu

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Authorities are conducting checks at local chicken and duck farms. Hean rangsey

Cambodia has tightened restrictions on the import of poultry products from Vietnam following a circular from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries that warned of an outbreak of H5N1 bird flu in the Vietnamese province of Tra Vinh.

In the circular, issued on Tuesday, Minister of Agriculture Veng Sakhon said Cambodia needs to exercise caution to prevent an outbreak here and laid out a nine-point strategy to keep the virus out.

The strategy seeks collaboration between institutions here and abroad, particularly with the Vietnamese government, to exchange information on the virus as well as on the trade and production.

Sakhon tasked the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production with ensuring that the necessary measures to stop the virus from appearing are implemented at farms, slaughterhouses, businesses and places where people congregate.

The same body is asked to investigate, monitor, and follow up on cases of poultry sickness nationwide and take any measures to prevent potential outbreaks.

Sakhon also asked the directorate to collaborate more closely with local authorities to stop illegal imports of poultry and poultry products, especially along the Cambodia-Vietnam border, as well as international airports and ports.

Moreover, the body was asked to increase awareness of the virus among poultry farmers, slaughterhouse owners, and poultry buyers and sellers.

Sakhon warned of immediate action against those institutions that fail to follow the circular or implement the measures wrongly.

According to Tuesday’s circular, Vietnam has culled more than 55,000 chickens following the outbreak.

Thach Ratanak, head of Svay Rieng’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, told The Post on Wednesday that, with the help of local specialists, he is disseminating the circular among people.

Moreover, specialists are working with military officers in the province to check poultry imports along the border.

“To stop the spread of bird flu from Vietnam, our team has decided to halt the imports of poultry and poultry products from Vietnam temporarily,” he said.

Mondulkiri’s Department of Agriculture director Song Kheang told The Post that the province does not import poultry products from Vietnam and that no cases of H5N1 have been reported there.

Takeo’s Agricultural Department director Nheb Sron said a working group is conducting checks at local chicken and duck farms.

On the orders of this working group, farms are implementing a series of measures to stop a potential outbreak, including spraying disinfectants, thoroughly cleaning coops and cages, and feeding the animals higher quality food.

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