BEIJING (Reuters) - The Southern Chinese city of Guangzhou will suspend the trade of live and slaughtered poultry for three-day periods during January to March, the government said, to prevent the spread of avian flu to humans.
The ban, effective from 16th to 18th of each of those months, will exclude frozen poultry products, according to a statement on the website of Guangzhou government.
Neighbouring South Korea and Japan are battling outbreaks of bird flu that have forced farmers to cull millions of birds and raised concerns about the risks of it spreading to neighbouring countries.
Under the ban, poultry wholesale markets and poultry trading at agricultural products fairs will remain closed, while live and slaughtered poultry cannot be stored in the markets.
The local government issued the ban to reduce the chances of human bird flu infection, as right now "it is the peak season for outbreaks," said the official statement.
Human bird flu infection cases have been reported in several provinces this winter, including Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Fujian.
Three cities in eastern China's Jiangsu province suspended live poultry trading after neighbouring provinces reported human bird flu cases. Local governments in Fujian and Anhui provinces have also restricted poultry trade.
China's Ministry of Agriculture said earlier that the recent outbreaks of bird flu have been handled in a "timely and effective" manner without spreading and have not affected chicken products or prices.
Reporting by Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger