Sat, Jan 05, 2019 - Page 1 News List

China urged to come clean on pig fever

TRANSPARENCY:The discovery of an infected dead pig that came from China shows that Beijing’s disease control and infection reporting are problematic, the premier said

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

A giant toy puppy holding a notice informing passengers not to bring in meat products is displayed on a baggage carousel at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday called on Beijing to publicize information about the African swine fever epidemic in China and work with neighboring nations to curb the spread of the disease, after an infected pig’s carcass was found in Kinmen County.

Lai made the remarks at the second meeting of the Executive Yuan’s Central Emergency Operation Center to oversee quarantine measures against the disease.

The Council of Agriculture (COA) on Thursday confirmed that a dead pig found on a beach in Kinmen County’s Jinsha Township (金沙) on Tuesday had tested positive for the disease.

The carcass might have floated from China’s Fujian Province’s Zhangzhou or Xiamen via the Jiulong River to Kinmen, COA Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine Director-General Feng Hai-tung (馮海東) said.

China has not reported any infection in the two cities to the World Organisation for Animal Health, Feng said.

It was likely an isolated case, the council said, adding that pigs at a farm within a 3km radius of the site have not shown any symptoms of being infected.

The discovery of the dead pig in Kinmen proves that China’s disease control and infection reporting are problematic, and more infected pigs might float to Matsu or other nations, Lai said.

China should honestly publicize its infection situation and work with other nations to curb the disease’s spread, a responsibility that it should shoulder, instead of worrying about “losing face,” he said.

Coast Guard Administration Director-General Lee Chung-wei (李仲威) reported at the meeting that another pig carcass had been found on a beach in Kinmen’s Siaociou Islet (小坵島) and that authorities have closed off the area.

With northeasterly monsoons bringing more marine garbage or animal carcasses from China to Kinmen via sea currents, the coast guard is increasing its patrols near the county, Lee said.

The Animal Health Research Institute has not yet received samples taken from the second dead pig, but it would finish testing within 24 hours upon receiving the samples, institute acting section chief Deng Ming-chung (鄧明中) said.

Council of Agriculture Acting Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) announced that starting yesterday, pork products from Kinmen are banned from entering Taiwan proper for two weeks, to ensure the safety of pigs and pork products on the main island.

“Kimmen is not yet infected, but based on the highest degree of quarantine, the strictest standards are to be enforced,” Chen said.

Additional measures have been put in place at Kinmen airport to remind travelers of the ban, which is to last until Jan. 16, including stricter immigration clearance checks with X-ray machines and sniffer dogs, bureau official Fu Hsueh-li (傅學理) said.

While only nine of the nation’s 22 municipalities had set up emergency centers to guard against the disease before the meeting, the rest have all followed suit after receiving Lai’s orders to establish such centers, the council said.

Meanwhile, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday signed into law an amendment to Article 34 of the Act for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Disease (動物傳染病防治條例), which states that international parcels containing quarantined items such as meat products from certain areas are to be returned, confiscated or destroyed.

Separately, the Ministry of Education said it would enhance prevention measures and awareness among companies that provide lunch programs on campus after a student at Nantou County’s Puli Elementary School found a sausage with a simplified Chinese label on a classroom floor.

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