Eleven provinces around the country have reported outbreaks of bird flu, the agriculture ministry said.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat, speaking at an online conference Tuesday, said that more than 23,000 fowls had died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu and 30,777 other infected birds had been culled.
The provinces are Nam Dinh and Lao Cai in the north, Quang Ngai, Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen, Kon Tum, and Dak Lak in the central region and Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Long An, Tay Ninh, and Ca Mau in the south.
According to the ministry, 20,000 samples were recently collected from poultry from 147 markets in 44 cities and provinces, and more than 60 percent tested positive for H5N1.
Tran Dac Phu, chief of the General Department of Preventive Medicine, warned that both the H5N1 and H7N9 -- a virulent strain ravaging China at the moment and threatening to invade Vietnam -- bird flu strains are highly contagious.
Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai ordered cities and provinces which have reported H5N1 outbreaks to quickly quarantine sick birds to contain the virus.
At the conference, Phat reprimanded Department of Animal Health authorities for disseminating incorrect information and being tardy with updates on the outbreaks.
On Monday he announced an emergency plan to contain the disease, which includes a ban on import of poultry over the Chinese border.
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