28 Oct 2005

Fiji introduces precautions against avian influenza

11:09 am on 28 October 2005

Fiji has taken strict quarantine measures to prevent the entry of bird flu into the country.

Fiji TV reports that the quarantine department has banned the import of all frozen chicken, live birds and ducks from all countries of the world except one.

The only country from which such imports are still allowed is New Zealand.

The director of quarantine, Hiagi Foraete, says the restrictions are necessary to isolate Fiji from avian flu which is spreading rapidly around the world.

Mr Foraete says the import of Asian food for the re-supply of Asian fishing vessels operating from Fiji has also been stopped.

He is calling for tighter quarantine legislation to protect Fiji's borders.

A form of the bird flu virus known as H5N1 which can be transferred to human beings has already killed over 60 people in Asia.

Leading health experts agree that a pandemic which could kill tens of millions of people around the world is inevitable.

They say the only thing they are not sure of is when it will break out.