Updated at 5.44pm: The government would implement additional precautionary measures to prepare for a possible influenza pandemic, a spokesman for the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau said on Wednesday. He explained that a pandemic could be caused by: influenza A (H5), influenza A (H7) and influenza A (H9), commonly known as avian influenza. The measures come in the wake of growing international fears about the spread of avian or bird flu. Throughout the Asian region, bird flu has killed at least 67 people since 2003. Almost all of the victims had come into close contact with infected birds. Experts worry the virus could develop into a form that can easily be passed on to humans, which could lead to a pandemic. In Hong Kong, the Chief Executive-in-Council developed the Prevention of the Spread of Infectious Diseases (Amendment) Regulation 2005 at Tuesday's Executive Council meeting. This will extend the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) border control measures under the Prevention of the Spread of Infectious Diseases Regulations to cover influenza A (H5), influenza A (H7) and influenza A (H9). These provisions will help the Director of Health implement stronger border controls to contain the spread of avian influenza, the spokesman said. The new health regulations will take effect on Friday. The spokesman said the new regulations seek to confer on health officers the power to prevent people at risk of being infected with the disease from leaving Hong Kong. 'Certain public officers and authorised persons will also be empowered to stop and detain a person seeking to leave Hong Kong in contravention of such a direction,'' he said. The regulations will also allow personnel authorised by the Director of Health to conduct temperature checks and to medically examine people arriving in, or leaving Hong Kong. With these provisions, the director would be better placed to contain the cross-border spread of avian influenza, the spokesman said. 'Although we are seeking additional powers under the regulations to prevent the introduction into, the spread in and the transmission from Hong Kong of avian influenza, these powers would be exercised responsibly,' the spokesman emphasised.