The Pakistani government has added India, Iran and France to its list of countries ineligible to import poultry and live birds into the nation.

The decision, made in a joint meeting of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, follows the discovery of avian influenza H5N1 in these countries. The Statutory Regulatory Order already prohibited the import of poultry from Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Africa, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Turkey, Greece, Romania and China.

According to a report in the Pakistani newspaper the Daily Times, the joint meeting noted that while the country is currently free of bird flu additional precautionary measures, including increased surveillance and expanded disease-testing, are necessary.

A strategy for the control of avian influenza has already been implemented nationally, with the creation of six rapid response teams by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The Pakistani Health Ministry has produced a small stock of Temiflu, used in the treatment of bird flu, and has requested that the World Health Organization provide additional doses.