Taiwan installs new airport X-ray equipment to stop African swine fever

Passengers arriving from virus-affected areas will be separated

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Interior Minister Hsu Kuo-yung inspected the new African swine fever prevention systems at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Friday.

Interior Minister Hsu Kuo-yung inspected the new African swine fever prevention systems at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Friday. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport will start up 16 new luggage X-ray machines on Saturday, the first day of the Lunar New Year holiday, and divide passengers according to their point of origin in a renewed effort to prevent African swine fever from entering the country.

Interior Minister Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) toured the new installations on Friday, emphasizing the need for Taiwan, a major producer of pork, to stop the virus from affecting the vital economic sector.

Passengers arriving from China, Hong Kong and Macao, estimated at 35 percent of the total, will be asked to put their carry-on luggage through the machines, while all others will each be handed a “passing card” which allows them to avoid the checks, the Central News Agency reported.

The latter category of travelers will be asked to return their passing cards later at the airport.

Current checks of carry-on luggage by officials upon arrival took about seven minutes per case, but the use of the X-ray machines would speed up the process, CNA reported.

While the number of passengers moving through the airport was expected to increase by 20 percent during the nine-day Lunar New Year holiday, the use of the new system was unlikely to worsen congestion, according to Hsu.

The 16 X-ray machines would be spread over four locations at the two terminals, with an extra two machines were being kept as back-up.

Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport said it was expecting a one-day record of 149,368 travelers to arrive or depart on Friday.