In a measure to prevent a recurrence of bird flu in China, Shanghai will suspend live poultry trading from January 31, the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, until April 30.
The suspension will be an annual feature for the next five years, dependent on the evaluation and warning of the bird flu and the seasonal onset, according to a joint statement issued by the Shanghai Agricultural Commission and the Shanghai Commerce Commission.
All the designated wholesale and retail markets will be banned from trading in poultry and violators face hefty fines between 10,000 yuan (US$1,641) and 30,000 yuan under a new rule that took effect in June.
Unlicensed street vendors who sell live poultry during the period will be punished by urban management teams.
Poultry from other cities and provinces must be sent to designated slaughterhouses and cannot enter the local market directly, it said.
The measures follow an outbreak in April this year, when all live poultry markets were shut down in Shanghai after 43 people died of H7N9 bird flu in China. The ban was lifted in June and about 110 poultry markets returned to business.
Experts have said there was a possibility of H7N9 recurrence and suggested a complete ban on live poultry business.
Source: Shanghai Daily