Beijing authorities have banned all live birds and poultry products from provinces affected by bird flu, state media reported Friday.
An outbreak of H7N9 bird flu has killed 87 people across the country since the beginning of the year, China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission said.
January was the deadliest month on record in terms of bird flu fatalities in China. Seventy-nine people died of the disease last month, and eight more were reported dead in February.
More than 260 people from 16 provinces and regions have become infected with the virus since the beginning of the year, the commission said. Most cases have occurred in the Yangtze and Pearl river deltas in south-central China.
Beijing's Municipal Bureau of Agriculture announced that it would prohibit all live birds and poultry products from the affected areas from entering the capital, Beijing Daily reported.
The capital is trying to prevent the spread of the disease to its 21.7 million residents. Beijing in 2006 permanently banned all live poultry markets to prevent bird flu outbreaks. At the time, the capital was trying to contain outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of the virus, which is also transmittable to people.
Local authorities around China have been closing poultry markets and slaughterhouses in recent weeks. Health experts believe the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday, which started in late January, has contributed to the spread of the disease because more animals were sold and slaughtered than usual.