An infectious diseases specialist and the WWF Mai Po bird reserve manager slammed the government yesterday for ending the bird flu-prompted closure of Mong Kok's Bird Garden three days short of the internationally recognised quarantine period. Lo Wing-lok and Lew Young were speaking as the bird garden, closed because the deadly H5N1 virus was found in a bird for sale there, reopened after no further traces of the disease were found. Dr Lo, the former medical-sector legislator, said there had been no real quarantine during the 18-day shutdown as traders could still take their pet birds away from the garden. He also said 18 days was not enough. 'The quarantine period should last for 21 days according to international practice,' he said. Dr Lo urged the government to make 'real contingency plans' in case of a similar incident. 'They should state the duration of quarantine and compensation to bird owners,' he said. Dr Young said Mai Po would be closed if an infected dead bird with the H5 virus was found within 3km of the reserve, and would be reopened after 21 days if no new cases were found. 'The government should explain why the market was only closed for 18 days,' he said. 'Why is the standard different?' Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department assistant director Thomas Sit Hon-chung said earlier that the market was being reopened because all 330 swab samples - including faecal samples from shops and environmental samples, collected in the area during the shutdown - had proved H5N1-negative. Meanwhile, most bird vendors yesterday did not glove their hands when cleaning bird cages and faeces, in breach of new rules. Under new conditions of the animal trader licence, all cleaners must wear gloves when tidying up bird cages and faeces. A stallholder, Mr Tsang, who did not wear gloves, said: 'Gloves are very troublesome.' But the department said its officers had not noticed any traders cleaning without wearing gloves during an inspection yesterday. Dr Lo said shopkeepers had worked without gloves for many years, so it would take time for them to get used to the new rule. From yesterday, traders also are required to keep an up-to-date account of bird transactions and the balance of the stock. The department said traders must show the documents to officers for inspection when requested. Bird trader Cheung Kwok-hung said he had not yet recorded any sales on the agriculture department form, although he had takings of about HK$1,000. 'I remember the transactions and I will jot them down later,' he said.