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Thursday, June 22, 2006 

Thursday, June 22, 2006 - Philipsburg, St. Maarten, N.A.

Ban on import of birdsfrom bird-flu countries

PHILIPSBURG--Public Health authorities have imposed a temporary ban on the importation of birds and bird products from countries infected with bird flu.

Import and wholesale businesses on the island have been informed about the ban, which takes immediate effect and will last for six months. The Department of Hygiene and Veterinary Affairs informed the companies of a controlled ban on the importation of peacocks, ducks, geese, swans, pigeons, chickens and turkeys, as well as the products of these birds, including their feathers, eggs and intestines.

The directive to ban birds and bird products from countries that have been infected with bird flu comes from the Ministry of Public Health. A federal decree was issued May 18 for a six-month period. The measure was taken in the interest of the public health.

Importers and wholesalers have been told that if they want to import birds and bird products from infected countries, they have to present an official health certificate. These businesses should contact the Department of Hygiene and Veterinary Affairs which will issue an official document based on the request. On arrival of the goods, the documents have to be verified and approved by the department prior to delivery of the cargo.

The countries where the ban is in effect are Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Denmark, Germany, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Israel, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Ukraine, Pakistan, Palestinian Autonomous Territories, Romania, Russia, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

The “St. Maarten Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan” has been developed by Sector Health Care Affairs (SHCA) along with a number of health care stakeholders. The document will be presented to Chairman of the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards.

A Planning Committee, responsible for all preparations and response activities related to the Influenza Pandemic, has been established. The committee comprises representatives of various government departments and meets once a month to discuss recent global updates about the Avian Flu and Influenza Pandemic. It will coordinate all required preparations and decide on necessary courses of action.

Copyright ©2006 The Daily Herald St. Maarten

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