The Delhi government Saturday imposed a ban on the import of live birds in the city and ordered closure of the Ghazipur poultry market for the next 10 days, with the discovery of more dead crows and ducks setting off alarm bells of a possible bird flu outbreak.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in a webcast, said samples from 104 dead birds have been sent for testing and reports are expected by January 11. However, there are no confirmed cases of bird flu in the city so far, he added. “As a precautionary measure, Delhi is taking several steps to control the spread of bird flu. The import of live birds is being completely banned from today. Second, the Ghazipur poultry market in Delhi will remain shut for the next 10 days.
Along with this, adequate measures will be taken based on the results received from the lab on Monday,” Kejriwal said.
Surveillance has been enhanced around water bodies, wildlife establishments like the zoo and bird markets, the CM said.
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) said it found 10 dead ducks at East Delhi’s Sanjay Jheel while 24 crows have died at the District Park in Jasola over the last four days.
“The deaths have triggered worry across the city. So far, 104 samples have been sent to a Jalandhar lab. The government will take all necessary action based on the reports… We will also follow all directions and guidelines issued by the Centre,” Kejriwal said.
The Centre has confirmed bird flu in seven states — Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and UP. Samples from Delhi are being sent to the Jalandhar-based Northern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal.
Kejriwal said surveillance teams and rapid response teams are working under all district magistrates, while veterinary officers have been directed to visit bird markets, wildlife establishments and water bodies.
“We are keeping enhanced focus on the Ghazipur poultry market, Shakti Sthal lake, Sanjay Lake, Bhalswa lake, Delhi Zoo and DDA parks in Hauz Khas, Paschim Vihar and Dwarka,” he said.
The government has also issued a helpline number, 011-23890318, to register alerts and complaints regarding the death of birds.
On its part, the DDA said it is “monitoring the situation closely and is in touch with other government agencies. Precautionary measures like spraying of disinfectant are being carried out in the DDA parks”. DDA added that as a precautionary measure, parks at Hauz Khas and Dwarka Sector 9 and Sanjay lake have been closed.
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