Fri, Sep 06, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Four nations added to luggage inspection list

SWINE FEVER THREAT:As the Mid-Autumn Festival is on Friday next week, travelers were urged not to bring mooncakes with meat stuffing into the country

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer

Carry-on luggage from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei is to be checked at airports starting today, the Council of Agriculture said yesterday, as it continues stepping up quarantine measures to prevent African swine fever from entering the nation

All travelers from the four countries on direct flights to Taiwan would be affected, the council said.

Before the four countries were added, the council’s list of high-risk countries consisted of China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, North Korea, South Korea, Russia and the Philippines, according to the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine.

All carry-on luggage from the listed countries would be scanned using X-ray machines, the bureau said.

The 16 operational X-ray machines and the staff at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport would be able to handle the additional scans, it said.

At other airports, custom officials and sniffer dogs would also help check carry-on and check-in luggage, the bureau said.

As of yesterday, Russia, China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea, Laos and Myanmar have reported outbreaks of African swine fever, while the other countries are listed for preventive measures, it said.

Since its first outbreak of African swine fever in August last year, China has reported 160 cases of infection, with the latest one confirmed in Hong Kong on Wednesday, bureau data showed yesterday.

Meanwhile, Vietnam, which identified its first outbreak in February, has reported 6,083 cases, leading the bureau to suspect that China has been underreporting the effects of the disease.

The bureau also called on Taiwanese travelers returning from abroad to refrain from bringing any meat products through customs, especially mooncakes with meat stuffing, given the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival on Friday next week.

Taiwan is mindful of the disease, as after more than two decades, it has been taken off the World Organization for Animal Health’s list of areas affected by foot-and-mouth disease, allowing it to export fresh pork again.

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