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February
LCSD reopens Kowloon Park bird ponds

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The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) will reopen the Bird Lake and Chinese Garden ponds in Kowloon Park tomorrow (February 17), which have been temporarily closed for some 50 days due to avian influenza there.

A spokesman for the Department said today (February 16): "The decision to reopen the ponds was made after the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) confirmed that the birds in Kowloon Park are avian influenza virus free."

"The last isolation of avian influenza virus in the Park occurred in the first week of January this year.

"In accordance with international quarantine standards, an avian flu infected area may be reopened if no more new cases are found for 28 consecutive days," the spokesman added.

The LCSD decided to close the bird ponds of Kowloon Park temporarily on December 21, 2002 as a precautionary measure, after four ducks and one swan were found dead during regular inspections.

These dead birds were passed to the AFCD for diagnostic testing, which indicated that they were infected with the H5 avian influenza virus.

All other ducks, geese and swans were placed under quarantine for six weeks, during which they were vaccinated twice against the avian flu.

The spokesman said: "The Department will continue to adopt various preventive measures to ensure the birds are under good care.

"Our staff have been reminded to observe departmental guidelines to prevent the birds from being infected with H5 avian flu.

"Birds at risk in all the Department's parks will be vaccinated against H5 avian flu regularly. Apart from that, LCSD and AFCD will monitor the development closely and ensure that high health and hygiene standards are maintained," he added.

Members of the public are welcome to visit the Bird Lake and Chinese Garden ponds of the Park as usual.

End/Sunday, February 16, 2003

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