Fri, Aug 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

China has not told Taiwan of ASF outbreak: MAC

Staff writer, with CNA

Pig farm employees are pictured in Chiayi County on July 7 last year.

Photo: Chen Kuan-pei, Taipei Times

China has reported its first outbreak of African swine fever (ASF), but has not informed Taiwan, despite an agreement between the two sides on epidemic prevention, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday.

Taiwan learned through the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) about the outbreak of the highly contagious disease on pig farms in China, MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) told a news conference in Taipei.

Based on that information, the Council of Agriculture (COA) has taken a series of border control measures and other actions to prevent the spread of the disease to Taiwan’s pig farms, Chiu said.

ASF has the potential to devastate the nation’s hog farming sector because there is no vaccine or cure for the disease, he said.

While China last week reported its first ASF outbreak to the OIE in keeping with the organization’s regulations, it did not inform Taiwan of the issue, Chiu said.

The 2009 Cross-strait Agreement on Cooperation in Inspection and Quarantine of Agricultural Products stipulates that Taiwan and China should promptly notify each other of any epidemics or sanitation issues regarding agricultural imports and exports, he said.

For instance, over the past few years, the two sides have been reporting to each other about avian flu outbreaks, Chiu said.

The MAC will continue to issue warnings against travel to ASF-affected areas in China, as part of the effort to prevent the spread of the virus to Taiwan, but has not imposed any restrictions on visits to Taiwan by Chinese tourists, he said.

On Friday last week, China reported its first outbreak of ASF, saying it was in the northeastern city of Shenyang in Liaoning Province, according to the OIE.

China has culled almost 1,000 pigs to prevent the spread of the disease, the OIE said.

ASF is listed in the OIE’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code and must be reported to the international organization, Chiu said.

Separately yesterday, Premier William Lai (賴清德) instructed the Ministry of Finance, the Ocean Affairs Council, the Ministry of the Interior and other government agencies to cooperate with the COA’s efforts to prevent the outbreak from entering Taiwan, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said.

Lai also asked the COA to provide information related to the outbreak to concerned industries and individuals, and ensure that pig farmers adopt necessary biosafety measures, she said.

“Those who detect abnormalities in their pigs should alert concerned authorities immediately,” she added.

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