By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz, Clarisa Luci-Atienza, Samuel Medenilla, and Franco Regala
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol has banned the shipment of fowls from Luzon to other parts of the country to prevent the further spread of bird flu.
However, Piñol clarified that the transhipment of chicken, hatching eggs and other fowls through the Manila airport to other parts of the country will be allowed, provided that stringent quarantine protocols are observed.
Chicken brought in from the United States intended for shipment to the Visayas or Mindanao may not be taken out of the boxes and must be loaded directly into the connecting flights, he added.
The government is preparing to bury about 200,000 chicken, ducks, quails, pigeons and fighting roosters to stop the spread of bird flu virus.
Piñol said the Bureau of Animal Industry has declared a quarantine zone within a one-kilometer radius of the farms where the outbreak was confirmed.
Another seven-kilometer radius has been declared as controlled zone where no fowls, eggs or other products could be brought out.
“About 100 quarantine officers have set up stations on all roads from San Luis (Pampanga) backed up by officials of the provincial government and the Philippine National Police,” Piñol said.
He also assured that all vehicles coming out of the area will be sprayed with disinfectants to ensure the containment of the virus.
After all the birds in the San Luis area have been culled, quarantine officers will disinfect all the six farms where the outbreak occurred.
He explained that after 21 days, sentinel birds will be deployed in the affected farms to serve as the basis in determining whether the virus is still present in the area.
If the sentinel birds will not show signs of the disease, the quarantine restrictions will be lifted after 90 days, he said.