Taipei, Feb. 16 (CNA) The government will ban the transportation of poultry for seven days starting on Feb. 17, as part of ongoing efforts to contain the spread of bird flu, the Council of Agriculture (COA) announced on Thursday.
The ban will not apply to one-day-old chicks or chickens raised indoors and sent directly to slaughterhouses, COA Minister Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢) said.
Eggs that have been washed or sanitized and certified by COA-contracted veterinarians can also be transported for sale, he said.
Since Feb. 6, six farms in Hualien, Tainan, Chiayi and Yunlin have been confirmed as having been infected with the highly pathogenic H5N6 avian influenza virus, according to the COA's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine.
The outbreak of H5N6 has put authorities on high alert because it is both highly contagious and transmittable to humans.
Since October 2016, this new A-type influenza has been found at 340 poultry farms in South Korea, resulting in the culling of nearly 33 million birds, the bureau said.
In Japan, 201 wild birds have been confirmed infected with H5N6 over the past three months and the virus has hit 10 poultry farms, resulting in nearly 1.4 million birds being culled.
(By Yang Shu-min and Y.F. Low)