China called bird flu a "serious epidemic" and reported three new outbreaks of the deadly virus in different parts of the country, while Canada announced multiple new cases but stressed they are not the virulent strain that has swept across Asia. Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan followed the United States in temporarily halting poultry imports from mainland British Columbia after Canadian officials said they found a duck infected with bird flu. On Tuesday, Dr. Cronelius Kiley of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said that multiple new cases had been discovered in a farm operated by the owner of a farm where the duck had been diagnosed as infected with the H5 virus. He said the latest cases were found on one of four other quarantined farms, and that preparations are under way to cull birds on that farm. Canada has insisted that the strain was less virulent than the virus that has hit poultry in Asia and killed at least 67 people in the region since 2003.