BEIJING, China – Poultry farmers in Hubei province have had to destroy thousands of young chickens due to a lack of feed caused by transport restrictions amid the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported on Feb. 13.
The Chinese government said it has responded by selling 1.3 million tonnes of corn to feed processing companies in the country’s southern provinces to ensure their raw material supply.
A total of 23 feed providers in the coronavirus epicenter, Hubei province, engaged in the corn auction, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
The novel coronavirus, which was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, a city with a population of 11 million in the Hubei province, has infected an estimated 64,000 people with about 1,400 deaths reported, mainly in China.
China also is reportedly dealing with an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 bird flu in chickens in the Hunan province, an area that borders the province where the coronavirus emerged, according to the South China Morning Post.
As of Feb. 1, local authorities had culled 17,828 poultry after the H5NI outbreak, according to a statement by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
There are no reported human cases of the H5N1 avian flu, according to the South China Morning Post, and transmission of the disease to humans is rare.