Vietnamese ambassador plays down bird flu fears
16 February 2004 SEGOVIA - Vietnamese ambassador to Spain, Nguyen Xuan Phong, said Monday that Spaniards planning to visit his country need not worry about catching bird flu which has killed at least 20 people in Southeast Asia and led to the culling of tens of millions of chickens, ducks and other poultry across the region.
Speaking Monday in this central city while meeting with local businessmen, the envoy stressed that the World Health Organization (WHO) had ruled out any cases of the virus passing between humans and so Vietnam was a safe destination for travellers.
“According to the WHO, only direct contact with birds is dangerous,” Nguyen said.
The ambassador acknowledged that the H5N1 virus, which has killed 14 people in Vietnam and spread to 57 of the country’s 64 provinces, was causing serious economic woes to Vietnam’s important agricultural sector.
“However,” he noted, “our embassy in Spain is still receiving visa requests from tourists and businessmen which is very positive news.”
Besides Vietnam, cases of bird flu among poultry and some waterfowl have been detected in China, Cambodia, South Korea, the United States, Indonesia, Japna, Laos, Pakistan, Taiwan and Thailand. Six Thais have also died after catching the illness.
Copyright EFE with Expatica
[Subject: Spanish news]