December 12, 2016 / 4:58 AM / 7 months ago

South Korea temporarily bans movement of poultry to fight bird flu

2 Min Read

South Korean health officials bury chickens at a poultry farm where the highly pathogenic H5N6 bird flu virus broke out in Haenam, South Korea, November 17, 2016. Yonhap/via REUTERS

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's agriculture ministry said on Monday it will issue a temporary nationwide ban on the transportation of poultry to contain the spread of bird flu, with 43 outbreaks recorded in Asia's fourth-largest economy.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said in a statement that the movement control order will be effective for 48 hours, from 1500 GMT on Monday or midnight in Seoul.

Since the first outbreak of a severe strain of bird flu known as H5N6 was reported on Nov.18., South Korea has ramped up quarantine measures to stop a wider spread of the virus, including issuing a 48-hour nationwide standstill order three weeks ago.

A total of 43 bird flu outbreaks had been confirmed as of Dec. 11, with another nine possible cases being tested, according to the ministry statement.

To prevent the spread of bird flu, the ministry said at least 8.8 million farm birds were culled and plans to slaughter 1.5 million more. That would be over 10 percent of the country's poultry population of nearly 85 million.

Although cases of human infections from the H5N6 virus have previously been reported elsewhere including China, no cases of human infection have been found in South Korea.

Reporting By Jane Chung; Editing by Michael Perry

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