Philippine visitors to Taiwan banned from importing pork

The Philippines is the eighth country in Asia to be hit by African swine fever and much tighter border controls are being imposed

Airport inspection (CNA photo)

Airport inspection (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan will impose tighter border controls for visitors from the Philippines starting 4 p.m., Monday (Sept. 9), as the Southeast Asian country has confirmed its first outbreak of African swine fever (ASF).

Agriculture Secretary William Dar of the Philippines announced in a news briefing that dead pigs found on some of the country’s backyard farms have tested positive for the deadly hog disease endemic, reported Reuters. This makes the Philippines the eighth Asian nation to have recorded ASF cases, following China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea, Laos, and Myanmar.

This means Philippine travelers arriving in Taiwan will be subject to a fine of NT$200,000 (US$6,350) for importing pork products, and those who fail to pay the fine will be denied entry to the island. Second time violators will be slapped with a fine of NT$1 million, in compliance with the Statute for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Disease.

X-ray inspections are now being conducted on carry-on luggage of visitors from the Philippines, which was listed as a high-risk area last month after reports emerged of an alleged ASF outbreak, said the Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC).

The Philippines had an estimated 12.7 million pigs as of July 1, 8 million of which were in backyard farms, with 4.7 million on commercial farms, according to Reuters. CEOC said at least 7,416 hogs from the Southeast Asian country were culled upon confirmation of the ASF outbreak.