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Taiwan steps up fight against African swine fever

2019/03/27 21:22:42

Council of Agriculture chief Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) / CNA file photo

Taipei, March 27 (CNA) Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Center for African swine fever (ASF) said Wednesday it will redouble its efforts against the pig disease, which is still at a peak in China.

As part of the efforts, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has directed the Ministry of the Interior and the Ocean Affairs Council to strengthen border inspections, according to Council of Agriculture chief Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲).

The Coast Guard Administration is also now required to inspect each fishing boat entering Taiwan, while the Ministry of Finance will open and inspect containers on speedy customs clearance, the emergency center said.

Furthermore, to help prevent ASF in Taiwan, some 1,400 vehicles that usually transport pigs will be required to install GPS equipment with effect from April, the center said

The same requirement will apply to vehicles that transport food, including pork products, the center said, adding that the Ministry of Health and Welfare will be responsible for overseeing those vehicles.

Failure to comply with the new regulations for vehicles will result in penalties, the center said.

According to Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城), deputy chief of the center, China has reported a total of 118 ASF outbreaks in 28 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities since the first cases were confirmed in Liaoning Province on Aug. 3, 2018.

In Vietnam, 209 ASF outbreaks have been reported in 21 provinces and cities since the first confirmed cases on Feb. 19, he said.

More than 20 provinces in China have removed the regulations on the transportation of local pork products, and United States recently seized 1 million pounds of pork smuggled from China, Huang said, citing the World Organization for Animal Health.

In Taiwan, 8 percent of the confiscated pork products shipped or brought in by passengers from China tested positive for the ASF virus in February, while the figure was 7.4 percent in March, indicating that the threat of the outbreak in China has not waned, he said.

The outbreak can only be considered to be abating when less than 1 percent of pork products brought into Taiwan from China test positive for ASF, Huang said.

(By Yang Su-min and Chung Yu-chen)
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