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Mai Po Nature Reserve re-opens tomorrow

     Mai Po Nature Reserve, which has been closed to the public since March 31, will be re-opened from tomorrow (April 21).

     With the detection of H5N1 virus on a dead barn swallow which was found within three kilometres of Mai Po Nature Reserve, the latter was closed as part of the precautionary measures adopted to minimise human contact with wild birds and their droppings.

     "As there has not been any new case of birds infected with H5 virus found near the nature reserve in the past 21 days, the nature reserve may be re-opened to the public," a spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today.

     But the spokesman reminded people to continue to be alert.

     "People should observe good personal hygiene and avoid contact with wild birds and their droppings. They should also wash their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with them," he said.

     The department will work closely with the World Wide Fund for Nature Hong Kong to ensure that sufficient precautionary measures are being taken.

     The department has maintained a stringent monitoring regime on wild birds in the Mai Po Nature Reserve and has been collecting faecal samples for H5 avian influenza tests since winter 2002.

     "We will remain vigilant and continue surveillance of wild birds," the spokesman said.

Ends/Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Issued at HKT 18:47


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