MANILA - (UPDATE) Fowls from Luzon will be banned from shipment to other parts of the Philippines, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Sunday, as the government moved to contain the spread of the country's first bird flu outbreak.
The ban, however, does not cover birds that pass through Manila airport as transhipment point to other parts of the country, Piñol said in a statement on his Facebook page, adding strict quarantine protocols will be enforced.
Chicken imports from the US should not be taken out of boxes and should be loaded directly to connecting flights to the Visayas and Mindanao.
"This is the first time that the country has recorded the presence of the bird flu virus and I am calling on all Filipinos to please help government contain this crisis by cleaning up their farms and closely monitoring their chicken for any signs of disease," Piñol said.
The government is monitoring prices and will make sure that there are no price hikes and that only uncontaminated meat is sold, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said.
A 7-kilometer "controlled zone" has been declared in the farming town of San Luis, north of the capital, where 37 fowls died due to bird flu and 200,000 other chicken, ducks, quails, pigeons and fighting roosters were set for slaughter, he said.
No fowls or eggs can be brought out of the "controlled zone" and all vehicles coming out of the area will be sprayed with disinfectant, Piñol said.
The Type A Sub-Type H5 strain observed in the area is reportedly not transmittable from chickens to humans and none of the residents have fallen sick, he said.
Quarantine officers will disinfect the 6 affected farms and a new set of fowl called "sentinel birds" will be brought in after 21 days. If the "sentinel birds" don't fall sick after 90 days, the quarantine restrictions will be lifted, he said.