|Sri Lankan virologist Peiris cautions against live chicken imports
A leading clinical and publich health virologist says the government should abandon plans to resume live chicken imports from the mainland.
Professor Malik Peiris, a Sri Lankan scientist in Hong Kong, says demand has declined.
“If live poultry markets are going to continue in HK I think the safest way to do that would be to rely on the local production from local poultry farms because at the moment the demand for live poultry is less than one-tenth of what it was," Prof Peiris told RTHK.
Professor Peiris co-directs the WHO H5 Reference Laboratory at Hong Kong University.
He was commenting on the latest idea from the Health Secretary for mainland and local poultry to be brought to the Cheung Sha Wan Wholesale Market at different times – to try to prevent local chickens from becoming infected.
"If imported poultry continue to come in I think sooner or later we're going to have the same problem that we faced a few months ago and then the local poultry production is also affected," Dr Peiris said.
Last month, local farmers had their poultry destroyed along with mainland birds after an imported chicken tested positive for avian flu.