Botswana revises ban on poultry imports from South Africa

HALESWORTH, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 06: Battery hens sit in a chicken shed on February 6, 2007 in Suffolk, England. Russia, Ireland, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and South Africa have announced bans on UK poultry imports after the news that the Bernard Matthews poultry processing farm in the UK confirmed an outbreak of the H5N1strain of bird flu. A massive cull of over 160,000 turkeys has been completed by Government appointed vets. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

The Botswana government revised its ban on poultry imports from neighbouring South Africa following an outbreak of avian influenza in the country.

Last week, Botswana banned the import of domesticated and wild birds from South Africa, after the death of around 300 birds at a commercial chicken-layer farm in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg. The samples from the farm tested positive for the H5 strain.

FILE PHOTO: Hens sit in a chicken shed. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

The Ministry of Agriculture issued a notice on Wednesday saying the ban remained in force with the exception of imports from “registered and approved avian influenza free compartments” from South Africa. Such imports must also be accompanied with a permit.

The notice, however, said cooked poultry meat is allowed without a permit.

Additionally, the importation of fresh poultry products from other countries, that transit through South Africa in sealed containers will be allowed with a permit.

Local media reported that the South African Poultry Association had indicated the situation had been contained at the farm. The association added that the area was also constantly being monitored.

Botswana and other neighbouring countries imposed a similar ban on poultry products from South Africa in 2017 after an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of avian flu.

Authorities in Botswana appealed to the public to be cautious and to report any deaths of domestic poultry and wild birds to veterinary offices.

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