MOSCOW, Jan. 10 (Xinhuanet) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the government on Tuesday to take actions to prevent any new outbreak of bird flu while strict quarantine measures were imposed on its southern border after the virus killed three children in near neighbor Turkey.
กกกก"We have to do all we can to avoid this problem here ... If additional funding is necessary, the government should provide it without fail and promptly," Putin told senior officials at a meeting broadcast on the country's television.
Earlier, Russia's chief state epidemiologist Gennady Onishchenko told Putin that Russian doctors at airports and railway stations have started examining people arriving from Turkey, where human cases of bird flu have been reported.
As Turkey is a popular tourist destination for Russians, Onishchenko has warned the public against visiting the country.
Russia has also introduced quarantine measures on its southern border and the strictest measures were imposed at the checkpoints on the border with Georgia and Azerbaijan.
"The introduction of strict measures of medical control is linked with the return to Chechnya and Dagestan of pilgrims from Saudi Arabia. Their route runs through eastern Turkish provinces where outbreaks of bird flu have been reported," a border official was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.
Speaking at the meeting with Putin, Onishchenko said he was worried over the spread of bird flu to Russia with the pilgrims returning from the Hajj later this month.
"Pilgrims are a special risk group," he said, adding he would seek to change the route of the pilgrims take returning to Russia.
On Tuesday, Turkey confirmed that 15 people had been infected with bird flu, and more than 70 people suspected of having the virus are undergoing tests.
Three children have died of bird flu in eastern Turkey.
The World Health Organization says there is no evidence so far of human-to-human transmission of the flu virus, which has killed at least 76 people since late 2003.
Russia has been battling with bird flu in poultry since July by culling more than 600,000 domestic fowl. Enditem