Philippines bans poultry products from Australia over bird flu outbreak

August 19, 2020 - 2:40 PM
Filipinos stock up on meat, a day before the Philippine capital goes back to a stricter lockdown amid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections spike, at a public market in Manila, Philippines, August 3, 2020. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

MANILA — The Philippines said on Wednesday it has temporarily banned the importation of domestic and wild birds and their products from Australia after the presence of the highly pathogenic H7N7 avian flu virus was detected at an egg farm.

Australia, which accounts for less than 1% of the Philippines‘ poultry imports, has confirmed the outbreak at the egg farm in Victoria.

The ban covers poultry meat, day old chicks, eggs and semen, the Department of Agriculture said in its Aug. 14 order made public on Wednesday.

Avian flu can infect humans, although there is limited evidence of human-to-human transmission, according to health experts. Human infections are primarily acquired through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated environments.

All incoming shipments from Australia with import clearance issued on or before Aug. 6 will be allowed entry, provided the birds were slaughtered or processed on or before July 3, or 21 days prior to the outbreak, Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.

The Philippines has seen its own outbreaks of avian flu, with the latest involving the highly infectious H5N6 subtype of the virus detected at an egg farm in San Luis town in Pampanga province in July.