Image copyright EPA Image caption Health authorities in China had already begun other quarantines earlier this week
Health authorities in China have begun further quarantine measures on an outbreak of a foot-and-mouth disease after cases in Hong Kong and Guangdong provinces were confirmed.
There were still more than 400 cases in five provinces, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.
The outbreaks affected large numbers of livestock in China’s south.
Six states have been quarantined since 15 April, when a case in Guangdong’s Guangming District began the current outbreak.
The three further provinces where infected cases have since been confirmed are Guizhou, Guangxi and Yunnan.
The disease has already had major impacts on local economies in four of the five provinces – Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan and Guangxi – which contain large numbers of livestock.
Other smaller provinces, such as Hunan, Hubei and Jiangxi, have also been affected, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper.
And the government’s response to the outbreak, deploying over 100,000 troops and health authorities, has also raised questions about the quality of that response.
On Monday, the food and agriculture minister Han Changfu said conditions in China were “fundamentally safe” and that there was “no danger of a new disease spreading”.
But he acknowledged the severity of the outbreaks, saying there were more than 3,000 hens – and only a handful of pigs – affected by the outbreak.
And a letter obtained by the state-run China Daily newspaper criticises the government for its actions.
“The problem of new outbreaks is likely to be caused by the widespread stress of the 17 months after the last outbreak,” it says.
And the government has come under fire over its handling of public suspicion of other foot-and-mouth outbreaks in the past.