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Expats welcome bird flu market clampdown

Expatriates in Shanghai have welcomed measures to prevent another outbreak of avian flu in the region.

Live poultry trading at the wet markets of the city will be suspended from January 31st until April 30th in a move that is expected to be repeated annually for the next five years.

The Shanghai Municipal Agricultural Commission and the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce issued a statement explaining the measure.

It said that this time of year is when bird flu is more prevalent and an assessment of the risk will be carried out prior to each period of closure, reports the Global Times.

All of the live poultry markets in Shanghai were shut down in April last year in response to 43 people being killed by the H7N9 strain of avian flu in China.

When the ban on trading was lifted in June, some 110 poultry markets resumed business.

The majority of Chinese people prefer to buy their poultry live and kill it themselves, as they believe that it will be fresher.

Emily Campbell, an expat from Canada, told the news provider: "It will probably take them some time to adjust their preferences but shutting down the live markets is for the good of all the residents in the city."

Despite living in Shanghai, she has not adopted the custom of buying chickens in this way and has always opted for the frozen alternative instead.

This is not the case for German expat Adam Muller, who embraced this element of Chinese culture in the past, enjoying a practice that has long gone in Europe.

Now he says it is not safe and should be phased out altogether in order to rid the region of the threat of avian flu.

British teacher Greg Jordan praised the authorities for their transparency about any outbreaks that do occur.

He said: "We are getting real-time information on the influenza since the day the first case was confirmed and that makes me feel a little bit more secure."

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