The EU decision on Friday covers imports of live poultry, poultry meat, eggs and poultry products, although heat-treated poultry products will still be allowed to be imported, said a commission statement.

All meat and meat products from poultry slaughtered before 15 February, considered to be outside the incubation period of the virus, will also be exempt, it added.

The decision came after Israeli authorities confirmed the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain had been found in thousands of poultry, as five people were admitted to hospital and the authorities moved to cull multiple flocks of fowl.

Around 11,000 turkeys at two farms have died in Israel's first outbreak of bird flu since the virus swept Europe, central Asia and the Middle East.