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Lack of poultry separation is weak link

by 5m Editor
1 December 2005, at 12:00am

HONG KONG - Admitting that Hong Kong&#39;s &quot;weakest link&quot; in combating avian flu is the slow pace of separating poultry from humans, the health chief said that a regional slaughtering scheme will begin coming on line in late 2007. Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food York Chow was responding Wednesday to criticism by medical sector legislator Kwok Ka-ki, who warned the slow progress in implementing the segregation policy is putting Hong Kong in a precarious position. &quot;We cannot get rid of the shadow of a pandemic,&quot; Kwok said during a motion debate on measures to prevent bird flu. &quot;More than a health issue, avian flu is a test of risk management and governance.&quot; Because it encourages contact between the public and potentially sick birds, Chow said permitting live chickens to be sold in markets is a problem. Since the 1997 Hong Kong outbreak, which killed 6 people and resulted in the culling of more than two million birds, the government has been discussing centralizing slaughtering but has been opposed by poultry sellers. &quot;Compared with other advanced countries, our weakest link is the way we deal with the separation of poultry and humans ... this is the only major problem we are facing,&quot; Chow said. <i>Source: The Standard</i>

5m Editor