Taiwan bans pork from India over African swine fever

Travelers bringing pork products from India to Taiwan will face heavy fine

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Screening of carry-on luggage at airport in Taiwan.

Screening of carry-on luggage at airport in Taiwan. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan banned the import of pork from India on Monday (May 4) after the northeast Indian state of Assam reported cases of African swine fever (ASF).

Passengers carrying pork products from India to Taiwan will face a fine of NT$200,000 (US$6,688) for the first occurrence and NT$1 million for subsequent violations, with foreign visitors having to pay their fine before being allowed into the country. However, because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, both countries have imposed restrictions on foreign travelers, and flights between India and Taiwan will not resume before June.

Despite India's low consumption of pork due to cultural reasons, the country has recently reported ASF cases in Assam, which borders Myanmar and neighbors China, both of which have seen outbreaks of the disease. The state has culled at least 513 pigs so far, according to Taiwan’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine.

Taiwan has seen only a few hundred daily arrivals in recent weeks as the coronavirus continues to affect much of the world. On Tuesday morning (May 5), a charter flight evacuating 129 Taiwanese and foreigners from India and Bangladesh arrived in Taiwan, but none violated the new regulation, according to the authorities.

ASF is highly contagious and deadly to pigs, but it does not affect humans. Following a ASF outbreak in China in 2018, more than a dozen Asian nations and regions have reported cases, including Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines.