Subject: LUSA: Gov't 'bans' poultry imports from eight Asian nations

Also: East Timor quarantine service on alert for bird flu

29-01-2004 13:51:00 GMT . Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-5784325 Temas:

East Timor: Gov't 'bans' poultry imports from eight Asian nations

Dili, Jan. 29 (Lusa) - The government of East Timor announced Thursday that it is taking "preventative measures" against poultry imports from eight countries in Southeast Asia to prevent the spread of bird flu.

The decision amounts to a ban on poultry imports from Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Burma, a government official said.

Timor's agriculture and health ministries have been on a "state of alert" since the avian flu epidemic, currently affecting 10 Asian nations, first broke out.

Dili health officials told that Lusa no bird flu had been detected in Timor and said all imported meat was being examined by Australian veterinary officials.



Australian Broadcasting Co.

Last Update: Thursday, January 29, 2004. 8:03am (AEDT)

East Timor quarantine service on alert for bird flu

Australian quarantine officials say they will continue supporting East Timor's quarantine service as monitoring efforts for the bird flu are stepped up throughout the region.

Over the past 18 months, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) has helped East Timor build its own service, which is now monitoring for diseases along the border as well as sea and air arrival points.

AQIS East Timor Program spokeswoman Emma Watkins says she remains confident the country can adequately monitor for the disease.

But she is concerned about the impact the virus would have if it entered the country.

"I guess it's a small country with a largely rural population and so therefore large livestock populations, and I mean virtually every family has animals, and so it could spread quite fast through at the village level, and an introduction of anything like that would also be quite devastating," she said.

Ms Watkins says she has assured Timorese officials that Australia can provide assistance if there are any concerns about the bird flu.

"East Timor's a fairly a small country and so the quarantine service is relatively small at this stage, but it is very targeted against those key risks of the airport and the seaports so it's certainly doing a job there," she said.

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