Taiwan strengthens protection against African swine fever contagion

Premiere Lai calls for establishment of emergency operation center for African swine fever

A hog farm in China.

A hog farm in China. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In order to prevent African swine fever disease from spreading throughout Taiwan, Premiere Lai Ching-te (赖清德) on Dec. 17 instructed the Council of Agriculture to establish an emergency operation center to fight against the ongoing epidemic of African Swine fever.

At a press conference today, spokesperson of the Executive Yuan, Ting Yün-kung (丁允恭) pointed out that, in a meeting with the government officials, Premiere Lai expressed his concern about the African swine fever that had been expanding broadly in China, reports CNA.

He added that, once the animal-fatal outbreak took place in Taiwan, it would cause a severe impact on the domestic meat industry. Subsequently, Lai asked for thorough epidemic prevention and taking defensive measures against the current epidemic in China, including the establishment of The emergency operation center, CNA quoted.

Additionally, the first meeting of the emergency operation center for African swine fever will take place at 10 am on Dec. 18, he added.

Noted that starting from Dec. 18, 2018, travelers caught smuggling the banned meat products from epidemic-affected areas to Taiwan, will be fined an amount of NT$200,000 for the first-time violation, and NT$1,000,000 for the second time, a fourfold increase from the previous punishment.

In the recently updated statistics from the government bureau, a total of 17 violations were reported at Taoyuan International Airport from 4 p.m. Dec. 15 to 4 p.m. Dec. 16.

Since Taiwan's government is tightening up African swine fever disease prevention, the public is advised to not attempt to defy the law.

In an updated African swine fever from China, another two cities of Sichuan and Heilongjiang were confirmed as having additional cases. On a farm of 210 pigs in Yanting county, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, 26 pigs were killed for being allegedly infected. Meanwhile, the outbreak killed 24 out of 84 pigs on a farm in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, according to Reuters.

Although the disease does not affect humans, it is fatal to animals and causes a decline in pork prices.