Friday, June 02, 2006

Alert issued to keep out birds

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: The Veterinary Services Department has enlisted the help of the police and Customs Department to ensure no Indonesian birds and eggs are brought into the country via ports and other entry points.
The alert was issued in the wake of the recent escalating number of bird flu cases in the republic as the government there had failed to curb the outbreak, according to director-general Datuk Dr Mustapa Jalil.
The west coast states, Sabah and Sarawak have been put on high alert since last week to watch out for birds that may be infected with the H5N1 virus being brought in.
“We cannot allow the birds into the country. There could be serious implications and great danger that a similar outbreak could occur here,” he said.
He said the department had also banned indefinitely eggs and birds from Indonesia. “Strict instructions have been issued that all birds from the country would be seized and destroyed immediately.”
He said the department had also stepped up checks with more men being deployed at all entry and border checkpoints to check on the situation.
He said jetties authorised to carry out barter trading with Indonesia had also been briefed on the bird flu danger.
“They were also told to contact the department or local authorities if birds or eggs were found on any Indonesian vessel at their jetties.”
Mustapa said anyone caught defying the order would face a fine and jail sentence.

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