Chinese authorities slaughtered over 20,000 birds at a poultry market in Shanghai on Friday as the death toll from a new strain of bird flu mounted to six, spreading concern overseas and sparking a sell-off in airline shares in Europe and Hong Kong.
The local government in Shanghai said the Huhuai market for live birds had been shut down and 20,536 birds had been culled after authorities detected the H7N9 virus from samples of pigeons in the market. Other live poultry markets in the city will be closed down from Saturday, it said.
China's eastern Jiangsu province said two new H7N9 bird flu cases have been confirmed on Friday, bringing the total number of reported infections nationwide to 16.
At least four of the dead are in Shanghai, a city of 23 million people and the showpiece of China's vibrant economy.