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Cyprus implementing measures against bird flu
2006-01-17 12:28:10

Nicosia, Jan 17 - As the Cypriot government continues to take measures to prevent an outbreak of avian influenza (bird flu) in Cyprus, assurances are coming through that there have been no cases of the disease appearing in the areas of the island under Turkish occupation.

Cyprus Minister of Foreign Affairs George Iacovou said he met with the UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus and head of mission of the UN peacekeeping force on the island (UNFICYP) Mr. Michael Moller, who reassured that there was no avian influenza case in the occupied areas.

Newly-appointed Government Spokesman George Lillikas called on all Cypriot citizens to cooperate so as to minimise or obliterate the risk of avian influenza in the government-controlled areas, and reassured that all measures were being taken to protect the health of the citizens and prevent any case of the disease in Cyprus.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health Andreas Gavrielides noted that the government had measures in place to prevent an outbreak of avian influenza and that the competent authorities would continue discussions on further measures to tackle any case that may appear on the island.

Mr. Gavrielides also said that tests were negative on a person allegedly suffering from avian influenza in the Turkish occupied areas and that ''so far we have not forbidden or closed the crossing points'' between the two sides on the island.

Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment Timmy Efthymiou said the government was monitoring the situation in the occupied areas and assured that the Veterinary Services, in cooperation with the EU standing veterinary committee, would be taking all necessary measures, if and when necessary.

Mr. Efthymiou presided over a meeting today to assess the measures in place to tackle avian influenza. ''All necessary preventative measures have been taken in our country according to what has been set out by the EU and the Strategic Action Plans that have been prepared by the Veterinary and Medical Services of the Ministries of Agriculture and Health respectively, which are in effect with the approval of the EU since November 2004.''

He also said that in Cyprus, apart from the Strategic Action Plans for avian influenza, additional national bio-safety measures have been taken.

Mr. Efthymiou added that said the government was in continuous contact with the European Commission and the competent Ministries in order to take further measures if necessary.

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