Taiwan to begin checking all carry-on bags from Philippines for African swine fever

Possible ASF cases were detected in two provinces near Manila

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A baggage inspection area at Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport (Source: CNA file photo)

A baggage inspection area at Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport (Source: CNA file photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — All travelers from the Philippines will have their carry-on baggage checked during entry to Taiwan starting Monday (Aug. 19) as a precaution against African swine fever (ASF).

The Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC) announced on Sunday (Aug. 18) that all carry-on bags from the Philippines will be examined by X-ray machines at the airport and other ports of entry starting at midnight.

According to reliable sources, ASF cases have been detected in Bulacan and Rizal Province of the Philippines, even though the authorities have not reported the cases to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the center said.

The Philippines has thus become the latest country to be listed as a high-risk area for ASF by the Taiwanese authorities, following China, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, North and South Korea, and Russia.

The measure is aimed at preventing the ASF virus from entering the country, according to the center. ASF is a highly contagious disease that infects pigs, with a mortality rate near 100 percent. The disease, however, does not affect human beings.

The ASF disease continues to rage in East and Southeast Asia one year after an outbreak occurred in China. The first ASF case in Myanmar was reported on Wednesday (Aug. 14) at a pig farm near the border with China and Laos. Reuters reported on Friday (Aug. 16) that the disease continues to spread across China, with the number of swine down 30 percent in July compared to the same period in 2018.

Travelers carrying pork products from ASF-affected countries to Taiwan without notifying the authorities will face a fine of NT$200,000 (US$6,300) for the first occurrence, and NT$1 million (US$31,600) after a second offense.

Violators may also face a fine of between NT$10,000 (US$316) and NT$30,000 (US$950) for bringing pork products from non-ASF-affected countries.