Temporary standstill issued to prevent bird flu from spreadingUpdated: 2014-01-27 14:29:56 (KST)
It was a busy weekend for disease prevention authorities as areas with confirmed or suspected bird flu cases are being supervised around the clock.
Despite their best efforts, the rising number of confirmed cases prompted the government on Sunday to issue a 12-hour standstill from Monday morning on the movement of any livestock, farm workers, and vehicles in Gyeonggi-do, Chungcheongnam-do, and Chungcheongbuk-do Province, which includes the administrative city of Sejong, and Daejeon.
The standstill came into effect at 6 a.m. on Monday and will be lifted at 6 p.m.
The government took the step as fears grow the virus could spread throughout the entire nation, especially after the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain was confirmed in more ducks over the weekend, including on a farm in Korea's southern Jeollanam-do Province.
Further north in Buyeo, Chungcheongnam-do Province, the virus has been confirmed in chickens for the first time.
This is especially concerning as chickens are more vulnerable to the virus, and they greatly outnumber the number of ducks.
"The highly pathogenic bird flu virus spreads at a very fast speed among chickens. That's why we decided to cull more of them as a preventive measure."
With that in mind, authorities have decided to cull all ducks AND chicken within a three-kilometer radius of six regions along the west coast.
Nearly half-a-million birds have been culled so far with another 2.2 million expected to be slaughtered over the coming days.
The virus has also been found in migratory bird droppings at Sihwa-ho Lake in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-do Province.
This is the most northern point in which the virus have been detected, increasing worries it could spread to the Seoul metropolitan area.
More cases are predicted to show up this week, especially since the virus has an incubation period of seven to 21 days.
Prime Minister Chung Hong-won has ordered a state of emergency and has called for special attention ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins on Thursday.
Kwon So-a, Arirang News.
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