Avian flu: Delhi bans import of live birds, closes poultry market for 10 days

The Delhi government on Saturday ordered closure of the capital's wholesale poultry market at Ghazipur for 10 days and imposed a total ban on import of live birds in the city, as a preventive measure to stop the spread of the bird flu.

Announcing this, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told reporters: "There is no confirmed case of bird flu in Delhi so far. We have sent around 104 samples to a lab in Jalandhar. The reports will come by the day after tomorrow. The Delhi government will take the necessary decision based on these reports."

Around 50 birds have died in three areas of the national capital over the past three to four days, Dr Rakesh Singh of the animal husbandry department said. "We received information about the death of crows in Dwarka, Mayur Vihar Phase 3 and Hastsal village in west Delhi. However, it is yet to be ascertained if bird flu infection is the reason," Singh said.

According to officials, 11 rapid response teams have been set up to monitor Delhi's potential avian influenza (H5N8) hotspots.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has also instructed officials to maintain a strict vigil on birds at major bird sites, especially poultry markets, water bodies, zoos and other potential hotspots. These include Ghazipur Fish and Poultry Market, Shakti Sthal Lake, Sanjay Lake, Bhalswa Horseshoe Lake, Delhi Zoo, and smaller water bodies in DDA parks among others.

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