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Delhi shuts down meat market to ward off bird flu

Delhi shuts down meat market to ward off bird flu

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced a ban on import of live birds in the national capital and shut down the city’s biggest poultry market at Ghazipur for the next 10 days to ward off the bird flu which has now spread to seven states in the country.

Uttar Pradesh adjoining Delhi has become the seventh state with confirmed cases of avian influenza in the country. Over 1,200 birds were found dead across the country on Saturday, including 900 in a poultry farm in Maharashtra.

The Central government said confirmation of bird flu in Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, is awaited as the samples have been sent for testing, it said.

Besides Uttar Pradesh, the other six states where bird flu is confirmed are Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat.

Noting that there is no confirmed case of avian influenza in Delhi so far, the chief minister said samples have been sent to Jalandhar laboratory. He also said that a 24-hour helpline has been set up for assistance of people.

Kejriwal said the Delhi government is following all guidelines and directions issued by the central government with regards to bird flu.

"Rapid response teams have been formed in every district to contain the spread and conduct proper surveillance, and they will function under the district magistrates. Our veterinary officers are conducting proper surveys in all bird markets, wildlife establishments and water bodies across Delhi.

"The special focus of the teams are poultry market Ghazipur, Shakti Sthal Lake, Bhalswa Lake, Sanjay Lake, Delhi Zoo, DDA Parks, situated at Hauz Khas village, Pashchim Vihar and Dwarka," Kejriwal added.

At least 24 crows have been found dead at a district park in south Delhi's Jasola in the past three days and 10 ducks have died at the famous Sanjay Lake, officials said.

The popular Hauz Khas Park in south Delhi, which is a huge water body that attracts large crowds every day, has also been shut, as a precautionary measure. .

Over 350 birds were reported dead in Rajasthan, taking the death count to 2,512, an official said. Even as Gujarat recorded its first confirmed cases of bird flu, four crows were found dead at a village in Mangrol taluka in the state's Junagadh district.

Six crows were found dead in Dakshina Kannada, bordering Kerala and samples have been sent for testing to ascertain the cause of death.

Five crows were found dead in a drain in the Sitabpur area in Uttarakhand's Pauri Garhwal district. Samples of the dead birds have been sent to a laboratory in Bhopal for testing, Veterinary Officer BM Gupta said.

A drive to cull over 1.60 lakh poultry birds at five poultry farms commenced in Haryana's Panchkula district on Saturday, officials said.

The move comes after samples of some birds in two poultry farms at Kheri and Ganauli villages in Panchkula tested positive for the H5N8 strain of avian flu on Friday. Officials said it will take around two to three days to complete the drive..