The Central Epidemic Command Center and the Council of Agriculture yesterday asked live poultry vendors not to adopt a wait-and-see attitude toward the government’s ban on the live slaughter of poultry or to labor under the illusion that the implementation will be suspended as the H7N9 avian influenza outbreak in China seemingly wanes.
The center said that the ban awould take effect on Friday as announced and those who fail to comply with the Animal Industry Act (畜牧法) by continuing to slaughter live poultry would be subject to a fine of between NT$20,000 and NT$100,000, while repeat offenders could face imprisonment.
“Live poultry trading in traditional markets will also be illegal starting from May 17,” Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said, adding that the offense would be punished in accordance with the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), with a maximum penalty of NT$15,000.
Ministry of Economic Affairs official Hsieh Chen-tung (謝振東) said that of the 1,051 registered live poultry vendors, 805 had applied for the NT$100,000 subsidy offered by the ministry as of yesterday morning.
“Those who have not applied, we understand, believe that the policy might be suspended as the H7N9 outbreak in China seems to be waning,” Hsieh said, before reiterating that the ban would not be suspended and the subsidy would not be available after tomorrow.
Meanwhile, National Taiwan University Hospital deputy superintendent Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said that the only person in Taiwan known to be infected with the H7N9 avian flu continues to make progress and is now free of the virus.
Several tests have shown that the patient, identified only as a 53-year-old businessman to protect his privacy, is now free of the H7N9 virus, but he still requires treatment, Chang said.
The man fell ill three days after he returned from a business trip to China’s Jiangsu Province early last month, and it was confirmed on April 24 that he had been infected with H7N9.
He was admitted to NTU’s intensive care unit on April 20 and for 10 days he was under extracorporeal membrane oxygenation life support because his heart and lungs were not functioning properly.
Additional reporting by CNA