The Bolivian government yesterday [Monday] banned imports of poultry from Asia on worries about bird flu, which is at large in ten Asian countries.

The ten countries from which poultry imports were banned are South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, China, Cambodia, Thailand, Taiwan, Laos, Indonesia and Pakistan. 

The ban will be imposed for a period 180 days, and refers to imports of birds, fresh eggs, products and derived products of poultry from the Asian continent. The ban follows similar measures imposed by fellow Latin American countries Colombia and Brazil late January.

Meanwhile the Vietnamese government has reversed a decision to cull all poultry within a three-kilometre radius of any bird flu outbreak as being too harsh. There are fears such an aggressive measure could decimate the Vietnamese poultry industry.

As many as 57 of Vietnam’s 64 provinces are dealing with outbreaks of the disease, and 14 people have died, out of 19 who fell ill. Thirty million birds have been culled or have died from the disease since late December.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has recommended the cull zones, and is now reviewing the new policy in Vietnam. It is hoped that a human vaccine will be available by the end of the year.