Theaters, sports complex closed because of FMD

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Theaters, sports complex closed because of FMD

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A helicopter, which Yongin city government rented from a firefighters’ office, sprays disinfectant on farms in Cheoin District, Yongin, yesterday, to prevent foot-and-mouth disease from spreading. [YONHAP]


In response to the relentless spread of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), officials in Guri and Pocheon, in Gyeonggi, said they will temporarily shut down theaters and outdoor public facilities after the highly contagious virus infected a number of livestock in seven cities in Gyeonggi.

The Guri city government said yesterday that it will close the government-run Wangsook Sports Park, a 58,000-square-meter facility with grass fields and tennis courts, until the virus’ spread eases.

The city faced heightened risk from the disease when neighboring Namyangju had its first outbreak of the virus on Friday.

The restrictions are aimed in part at protecting the Sanori farm, which raises about 200 cows.

“The Sanori farm is only one meter from Wangsook Sports Park,” said Park Yun-seon, director of the city’s Agriculture Policy Bureau. “The farm and the park are within a 5-kilometer (3 miles) radius of the outbreak of FMD in Namyangju.”

Pocheon, north of Namyangju, also increased its preventive measures against the virus, canceling and postponing this month’s art performances and movies.

The city said yesterday that it will refund money paid for all performances at Banweol Art Hall that are canceled or delayed due to the restrictions.

So far, seven cities in northern Gyeonggi, including Namyangju, verified that their farms were infected with FMD.

The virus has also spread into Boryeong, South Chungcheong, where a hog farm tested positive for the disease yesterday. About 130 cows are currently being raised within a 500-meter radius of the epicenter in Boryeong, health authorities said.

Concerns are growing in Hongseong, which has the largest number of livestock of any county in the country, with 450,000 pigs and 45,000 cows.

The Hongseong county office raised the number of quarantine posts from eight to 12 to protect its largest hog and cattle farm, located only 3 kilometers from the outbreak in Boryeong.

Health authorities said vaccinations will be given out in FMD-free regions in an attempt to prevent the spread of FMD.

“Yongin and Pyeongtaek have large-scale farms,” Yoo Jeong-bok, Minister for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said Sunday. “We are considering giving vaccines in these regions.”

Meanwhile, the spread of avian influenza A (H5N1) has been halted, according to authorities.


By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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