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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-01-20

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Government on measures against bird flu

  • [01] Government on measures against bird flu

    All the necessary measures were being taken to protect the country against a potentially deadly bird flu epidemic, alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros reiterated on Friday.

    He had been asked whether the government was prepared to deal with possible victims of the disease.

    The spokesman stressed that scenarios of numerous victims were linked to the possibility of a pandemic and that there was no sign that this would take place at present. He stressed that all steps to ensure that Greece was ready to deal with such a case were being taken.

    Antonaros also pointed to the release of funds to the agriculture ministry on Friday for additional measures against bird flu and the tour being conducted by agriculture minister in areas along the borders to brief local authorities on the measures to be taken.

    Deputy Agriculture Minister Alexandros Kontos, meanwhile, visited the veterinary laboratories in Thessaloniki on Friday, where he said that the danger of the virus spreading had been minimised though not altogether eliminated and that state services were operating in the most efficient way.

    He said that 400 additional veterinarians and technicians had been appointed in the framework of the bird-flu alert, while a visit to outlying prefectures near Turkey on Thursday had shown them to be adequately staffed and equipped .

    The minister noted that three on-the-spot intervention teams with 10 members each had been set up, which would be mobilised in cases where bird flu was suspected.

    Kontos said that all 1,827 samples sent to the Thessaloniki laboratories since September 2005 had shown no trace of the deadly HN51 virus, while the Veterinary Institutions Centre would be manned with extra staff.

    He also underlined that the greatest risk for the spread of the virus came from birds bred by people in their homes and farms rather than large-scale, organised poultry farms, especially in regions near the border where they might come into contact with wild migratory birds.

    It was vital that these birds should be restricted to enclosed spaces and that their owners carefully follow the instructions of vets, the minister noted.

    Thrace health services fully prepared, KEELPNO chief stresses

    Speaking from the first regional conference of health administrative district chiefs that began in Alexandroupolis on Friday, the head of the Centre for the Control and Prevention of Diseases (KEELPNO) Angelos Hatzakis stressed that health services in the region Thrace were at their highest-ever level of readiness and everyone was very satisfied with the preparations.

    Hatzakis said improvements were daily and that all necessary work in terms of infrastructure, instructions and training had been carried out in order to make the barrier at the border as strong as possible.

    Agriculture minister to visit Drama, Thessaloniki and Kozani

    Continuing his visit to regions near the Greek border, Agricultural Development and Foods Minister Evangelos Basiakos is to visit Drama, Thessaloniki and Kozani on Saturday for further meetings with local authorities and services in these areas concerning preparations against the spread of bird flu.

    The meetings will be attended by officials from nearby prefectures, while Macedonia-Thrace Minister Nikos Tsiartsionis and Deputy Agriculture Minister Alexandros Kontos will also be in the government delegation.

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