WORKERS
Apichart Weerawong  /  AP
Workers dump bags of chickens to be buried at a dump site in Soong Peenong district, Thailand on Sunday.
updated 1/25/2004 2:53:05 PM ET 2004-01-25T19:53:05

China banned poultry from Thailand and Cambodia on Sunday, two days after bird flu cases were confirmed in both Southeast Asian nations.

The actions were taken "to prevent bird flu from entering China and protect the safety of the country's poultry," the government said in a statement issued by its official Xinhua News Agency.

The ban covers all birds imported "directly and indirectly" from the two nations. Any such products that make it into China will be returned or destroyed, according to the State Quality Inspection Administration and the Agricultural Ministry.

Mailing of such products also was banned.

Indonesia confirms avian flu
Indonesia became the seventh country in Asia to confirm an outbreak of deadly bird flu, as the World Health Organization warned Sunday the virus could be resistant to basic human influenza drugs.

The disease has already affected millions of chickens in Indonesia, said Sofjan Sudardjat, a senior agriculture official. But the virus has not yet crossed over to humans, he said.

Indonesian officials had earlier denied the diseases’ presence, but the Indonesian Veterinarians Association said several independent investigations had revealed that bird flu had already killed millions of chickens over the past several months.

12 million birds slaughtered
Asia is on a region-wide health alert, with governments slaughtering millions of chickens to contain outbreaks in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Vietnam has slaughtered more than 3 million chickens while Thailand has exterminated some 9 million. On Sunday, the Thai government enlisted hundreds of soldiers and 60 prisoners to help with the mass cull.

Both Cambodia and Thailand confirmed bird flu in their nations Friday. China already has banned fowl from Japan, South Korea and Vietnam on similar concerns.

No cases of bird flu have been reported in China. But the government has stepped up inspections at its border with Vietnam and has been checking all border regions for tainted chickens and other fowl in recent days.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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