Bird flu: Punjab declared as ‘controlled area’, import of birds banned
The Congress-led government in Punjab declared the state as a ‘controlled area’ in view of the bird flu outbreak reported in neighbouring states and imposed a complete ban on the import of live birds, which include poultry and unprocessed poultry meat, for any purpose with immediate effect till January 15. Punjab hasn’t reported any case of bird flu till now, news agency ANI reported on Friday.
The state government had earlier sounded an alert in the state with chief secretary Vini Mahajan ordering to step up sampling, testing and surveillance of the suspected bird flu cases. She had earlier reviewed the situation in Punjab and neighbouring areas particularly Himachal Pradesh which has reported more than 380 bird deaths. Mahajan had said on Thursday that the state government was fully prepared to tackle any situation arising out of the outbreak in the country adding that all efforts were being made to keep Punjab safe.
She also instructed the animal husbandry department to withdraw coronavirus disease (Covid-19) testing from the Northern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (NRDDL) in Jalandhar and use the facilities available for testing bird samples. “Results of suspected bird flu tests should be made available without any delay,” the chief secretary said.
All concerned departments in the state have been asked by Mahajan to work together to combat any grave situation if it arises. “If any mass mortality of poultry or other birds is found, it should be immediately reported to the deputy director of animal husbandry department in the concerned district,” she said.
The central government said on Friday that bird flu has been confirmed in Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Rajasthan and ordered the state authorities to control the spread of the disease. The government has deployed teams to Kerala, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh for monitoring the situation. According to an official statement, the states which are still unaffected by the Avian Influenza have been ordered to keep a check on any unusual deaths among birds and report immediately so that necessary action is taken as soon as possible.
(With agency inputs)