China said Friday that no more human bird flu cases have been detected in the country, two days after confirming its first cases, as leaders attending an Asia-Pacific summit were expected to focus on the virus that is ravaging the region's poultry. Dozens of Chinese farmers and villagers who came in contact with two people sickened by bird flu have remained healthy and were released from medical observation, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The human cases, a woman who died and a boy who recovered, were confirmed on Wednesday.
China has been racing to vaccinate millions of fowl since the virus began devastating poultry stocks there last month. The government has vowed to immunize the country's 14 billion poultry.
Meanwhile, the bird flu threat was expected to be a major focus with leaders from the 21 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on Friday and Saturday in Busan, South Korea. U.S. President George W. Bush was expected to take a lead in the discussion.
Other leaders have also indicated they want bird flu and the issue of pandemic preparedness to top the summit's agenda.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Thursday said a global health disaster would be devastating. His warning came the same day two new deaths were confirmed in his country.
"We cannot even begin to imagine the number of people who would be killed," he said. "The impact on our economies would be catastrophic. None of us can afford this."
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in Manila on Thursday said bird flu was also among her key concerns. Australian Prime Minister John Howard and his Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong addressed the issue at a meeting Thursday on the sidelines of APEC. "What we both agreed was that it was tremendously important that we cooperated and if there were an outbreak no country should try and disguise the problem, there should be total transparency," Howard said.
However, Chinese President Hu Jintao avoided mentioning bird flu in two speeches delivered Thursday in Seoul and Busan.
Hong Kong on Friday was set to begin screening travelers' temperatures as they crossed the busy border with mainland China. Officials will use 11 infrared machines at the two border points, said Cindy Lai, Health Department assistant director. I.L.
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