In line with the detection of positive bird flu infection in nearly 8 birds, the Hong Kong Housing Department has announced that any tenant (under the public rental system) in possession of animal or bird without prior consent would be subjected to legal action, characterized by a deduction of five penalty points.
In addition, those who breach the new law would be required to pay a fine of 100, 000 HK dollars, according to Lai Ip-cheung, Assistant Director, Housing Department. The backyard poultry-keeping law would be implemented from February 13th. Under appropriate conditions, decisions regarding tenancy termination would be considered by the housing department.
Widespread action to promote health and hygiene in the environment such as cleaning of markets and estates would form the main bird-flu prevention efforts of the Department. New staffs have already been appointed to ward away feral birds from the estates. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department would be alerted of any poultry or bird carcass that would be tested for the presence of H5N1 avian influenza virus.
Effective management of the bird flu crisis in Hong Kong is largely dependent on the participation of the local residents and the community in general.