Mustaqim Adamrah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said Tuesday she expected poultry farming in Jakarta to stop in order to halt the spread of bird flu.
"If possible, both collective and backyard poultry farming must be restricted to curb the spread of the bird flu virus," she said at City Hall after a meeting.
"(It will enable us to) prevent the number of patients contracting bird flu from increasing," she said.
In a meeting presided over by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, senior Cabinet members and government officials discussed efforts to curb bird flu in the three hot-spot provinces of Jakarta, Banten and West Java; flood mitigation in the capital and supply stability for commodities like cooking oil, soy bean and flour.
The meeting was attended by Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo and a number of city and state officials, including Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal, Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu and Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto.
Also present at the meeting were Meteorological and Geophysics Agency head Sri Woro B. Harijono, National Police chief Gen. Sutanto, Indonesian Military chief Gen. Djoko Santoso and the Health Ministry's Drug and Food Monitoring Agency head Husniah Rubiana Thamrin Akib.
In response to Siti's statement, Fauzi said the move was unnecessary, saying zoning regulations were more than enough to make sure poultry farming was under control and that the spread of the virus could be limited.
"The President hopes there will be no more deaths caused by bird flu in Jakarta, Banten and West Java this year," he said.
The three provinces have been centers for the H5N1 virus, with a combined 71 fatalities having been recorded out of 103 reported bird flu deaths nationwide.
Jakarta has been the hardest hit, with 25 deaths from 29 reported cases.
"Therefore, Jakarta will set aside special zones for the poultry industry as soon as possible," Fauzi said. "The zones must be far from residences."
He said such special zones would enable the administration to control the poultry industry.
"It will be easier for us to disinfect poultry as well," he said.
Earlier, the government urged the three provinces' administrations to strengthen their enforcement of bird flu regulations following a string of avian influenza deaths.
The most recent deaths were reported in Bekasi, Tangerang and Jakarta.
The call was made during a meeting at the Coordinating Ministry for the People's Welfare. The meeting was presided over by the coordinating minister, Aburizal Bakrie, and attended by Home Minister Mardiyanto and Siti.
The meeting discussed special zones and traditional markets' obligation not to sell live chickens.
Apart from the zoning regulations, Fauzi previously said he would strengthen restrictions on poultry in the capital, citing weak enforcement of a 2007 ordinance banning backyard poultry and regulating the poultry industry.
He said his administration would find a way to punish those violating the ordinance.
Offenders of the bylaw are currently only required to register their pet birds or have their backyard poultry culled.