UAE bans import of poultry products from UK and Netherlands amid bird flu outbreak

Outbreak of avian flu across Europe prompts second ban within six months

ISA Brown hens eat from a chicken feeder at Taluca Park free range farm in Exeter, Australia, on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. Australia's economy is recovering strongly and sentiment and hiring consistently improved in late 2020 as authorities managed to bring the virus under control. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg
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The UAE has banned the import of birds and poultry products from the UK and Netherlands, following a virus outbreak.

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment announced the restrictions on Monday, prohibiting the import of all species of domestic and wild live birds, ornamental birds, chicks, hatching eggs and their thermally untreated by-products.

The UK is battling its largest outbreak of bird flu and has culled tens of thousands of birds as a result.

About 20 cases of avian influenza have been identified. Prior to this outbreak, the highest number of bird flu cases was 13, between 2016 and 2017, the British press reported.

The UAE's ban also applies to the Netherlands after cases of avian flu were reported in poultry farms there.

Last year, Dutch authorities slaughtered around 190,000 chickens after a particularly contagious strain of bird flu appeared on at least two poultry farms.

Spread of bird flu in Europe. Roy Cooper/The National

The flu has since been reported in about a dozen European countries.

Last year, the European Food Safety Authority said Europe was facing the very real prospect of the lethal HPAI H5N8 strain of avian influenza spreading to countries that were free from the disease.

In a public health announcement, reminiscent of the dire Covid-based proclamations the world had become so accustomed to, the authority's Animal and Plant Health Unit head, Nik Kriz, called for "close co-operation between animal, public, environmental and occupational health authorities".

The watchdog also implored national veterinary agencies to increase surveillance and restrictions.