BEIJING, Jan. 7-- Shanghai’s live poultry markets will be shut from the end of this month until April 30 to prevent a recurrence of the bird flu, the Shanghai Agricultural Commission said yesterday.
Shanghai reported the year’s first H7N9 bird flu case on Friday. The patient, an 86-year-old man, bought live poultry, health authorities said.
This is the first time that Shanghai will shut all the 117 markets for a period of time after a new provision on the management of live poultry trade was introduced in the city last June. The suspension will be an annual feature for the next five years after its success is evaluated, authorities said.
Residents need to buy and store poultry before the markets close on the first day of the Spring Festival.
But many elderly residents said the closure will dampen the festive atmosphere of the Chinese New Year.
“Old traditions are getting lost every year,” said Liu Xunlan, an 80-year-old local resident.
Liu said it was a tradition in her family to buy live chicken on the first day of the Spring Festival and make fresh chicken soup to celebrate the Chinese New Year. “The feeling is different if you use frozen chicken to make the soup,” Liu said.
In April last year, live poultry markets were closed in Shanghai after 43 people died of H7N9 bird flu in China. The ban was lifted in June after the city introduced new regulations to manage poultry markets.