All three Delhi Municipal Corporations on Wednesday banned the sale of chicken in their respective regions, following confirmation earlier this week of bird flu cases in the national capital. Hotels and restaurants were warned against serving egg-based dishes or poultry meat.
The North and South Delhi corporations issued their orders this afternoon, with the East Delhi issuing its order in the evening.
"All meat and poultry shops and meat processing units in areas under NDMC are prohibited (from) selling (or) storing poultry or processed, or packaged, chicken meat with immediate effect, till further orders," the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) order said.
'All restaurant owners are directed not to serve poultry meat, poultry product or any egg-related dishes... or action will be taken against them," the order said.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) order said: "Due to bird flu, wholesale poultry market (is) to be totally shut... complete ban on import of poultry, or unprocessed poultry meat... ban on selling, processing, packaging of poultry or poultry meat till the next order. All restaurants are instructed not to serve poultry meat or eggs.".
"Whosoever defies the order, his/her trade licence will be suspended," the SDMC order added.
"Selling and storage of poultry or processed chicken meat by shops and restaurants has been banned in east Delhi area with immediate effect. Restaurants and hotels too are prohibited from serving such products," East Delhi Mayor Nirmal Jain said.
The orders came after the Health Department today asked people not to panic and follow a set of dos and don'ts, including not eating half-cooked chicken and half-boiled or half-fried eggs.
"H5N8 is highly pathogenic in birds but the pathogenicity in humans, as well as the likelihood of human infection with avian influenza (AH5N8) virus, is low," the department's notification said.
It also said: "Eat only completely cooked eggs and poultry products cooked at 70 degree Celsius for 30 minutes. Do not consume half-cooked chicken or bird or half-boiled and half-fried eggs."
Last week Giriraj Singh, Union Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, tweeted similar assurances: "Cook meat and eggs properly. There is nothing to worry about."
On Monday, the Delhi government confirmed multiple bird flu cases after eight samples sent to a Bhopal-based laboratory tested positive for avian influenza. Of those eight, four were from a park in Mayur Vihar Phase 3, three from Sanjay Lake and one from Dwarka.
Following the positive tests the government also shut down the Ghazipur poultry market and imposed a ban on sale of processed and packaged chicken from outside the city.
The shutdown was viewed with alarm by local traders.
"Every day 250 - 300 tons of stock used to come. Business of Rs 2.5 crore has been impacted," Mohammad Saleem, General Secretary of the market association, said.
"Delhi government is making all efforts to check the spread of bird flu and monitoring the situation. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is constantly in touch with officials. There is no need to panic as bird flu does not spread from one person to another," Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said.
Bird flu cases have also been confirmed in Kerala, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
In Kerala, tens of thousands of birds were culled last week after 12,000 ducks died and the H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza was confirmed in parts of Alappuzha and Kottayam districts.
In Haryana, culling of over 1.6 lakh birds at five poultry farms began in Panchkula district, news agency PTI said. Over four lakh were found dead across the state in the past two-three weeks.
With input from PTI