The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development must allocate 10,000 litres of sterilisation chemicals to Bac Ninh as part of efforts to prevent bird flu infections in the northern province.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung made the order and also said that the chemicals must be used in compliance with the State's current regulations.

From February 2, the H5N1 virus has been spreading in four localities in the province - Yen Phong and Tien Du districts, Tu Son town and Bac Ninh city.

In a related move, the Ministry of Health on February 6 sent a message to provinces and cities nationwide urging them to take measures against the spread of the avian flu virus, saying there is a high risk of it developing into an epidemic.

The ministry asked all localities to strictly monitor the situation such as stepping up scrutiny at border gates. They should also take steps to ensure that infected people are promptly treated and quarantine those suspected of having the virus.

Health inspectors in border areas have been told to tighten checks on people travelling from epidemic-hit regions and the poultry trade, and l ocalities to crack down on the smuggling of chicken and to ensure that poultry markets are sterilised and disinfected.-VNA