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Temporary closure of outdoor section of Hong Kong Wetland Park
Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Following the detection of the H5N1 avian influenza virus in three dead birds collected in Yuen Long within 10 days, the outdoor section of the Hong Kong Wetland Park (HKWP), which is within a radius of 3 kilometres from where the dead birds were found, will be temporarily closed to visitors for 21 days starting tomorrow (February 15) as a precautionary measure, a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) announced today (February 14). The AFCD will monitor the situation closely and review the closure period as necessary.

The carcasses of a black-headed gull, an Oriental magpie robin and a grey heron were collected in Yuen Long on January 30, February 7 and February 8 respectively. They were confirmed to be H5N1-positive after laboratory testing.

According to established guidelines, if three or more live or dead birds confirmed with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus infection are found within a period of 10 days within a 3km radius of the Mai Po Nature Reserve (MPNR), the HKWP and other walk-in-aviaries, the MPNR, the outdoor section of the HKWP and other walk-in-aviaries will be closed for 21 days.

The HKWP will step up cleansing and disinfection. Notices will also be put up to inform visitors of the arrangements.

The indoor section of the HKWP will remain open to the public subject to implementation of enhanced precautionary measures to prevent potentially contaminated materials from being brought into the indoor area. Under the AFCD's wild bird surveillance programme, swab samples are collected regularly in the HKWP to test for the H5 virus. More than 820 samples were collected in 2011 and all tested negative. The HKWP will step up wild bird monitoring and publicity about avian flu prevention.

"People should observe good personal and environmental hygiene and avoid contact with wild birds and their droppings. They should clean their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with them," the spokesman said.

The Government will continue to closely monitor both the local and global avian influenza situation and ensure that the necessary precautionary measures are well in place.