Five countries ban poultry imports from Belgium due to bird flu outbreak

Thirteen countries, including China, Japan and Russia, have restricted imports of Belgian poultry following the outbreak of avian influenza in Belgium. Five of these countries have imposed a total ban.

China, Cuba, Singapore, Taiwan and South Africa have imposed a strict embargo on all poultry from the entire Belgian territory, according to the Belgian Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain.

Eight other countries and regions have imposed partial embargoes, banning imports only from specific regions where infections have been detected. They include Hong Kong, Iraqi Kurdistan, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Other countries or regions may have restricted imports in other ways, such as refusing to issue import licences.

The H5 strain of the avian influenza virus has been detected in four locations in Belgium this winter. Professional and hobby poultry keepers have been required to cover their flocks since 9 December.

Avian influenza, or bird flu, is a highly contagious viral disease that can affect all species of birds. There is no scientific evidence that this H5 virus is harmful to humans.



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