Taiwan steps up preventive measures against African swine fever

  • Date: 2018-11-22
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

At the Cabinet’s weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Lai Ching-te ordered government agencies to take full protective measures to keep African swine fever (ASF) from entering Taiwan.

In remarks following a Council of Agriculture (COA) briefing on ASF prevention plans, the premier also instructed the COA, Ministry of Finance, Ocean Affairs Council, Mainland Affairs Council, Ministry of Transportation and Communications, and Ministry of the Interior to raise the public’s awareness of the risks associated with the virus.

The disease is spreading through China and has reached Fujian Province in the south, the premier said. Traces of ASF virus have even been detected in Chinese meat products brought into Taiwan or discarded by travelers at Kinmen Harbor and Taichung International Airport. The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine also continues to uncover instances of Taiwanese consumers purchasing Chinese meat products online.

Japan, meanwhile, has reported a second case of classical swine fever. Though this disease is caused by a different virus than that associated with ASF, both produce similar symptoms with mortality rates approaching 100 percent. These developments are an indication of the growing severity of the outbreaks, he said.

The COA should take all necessary preventive measures, mapping out specific and concrete steps to block every possible route of entry and keeping the viral spread at bay, the premier said. The council should work with local governments, hog farmer associations and other private organizations as well to ensure the overall effectiveness of disease prevention measures at pig farms.

Premier Lai also instructed the COA to keep a close eye on farm operations across the nation, particularly with respect to the installation of high-temperature cooking equipment as food scraps fed to pigs are a major mode of infection. The council should additionally establish disease-prevention protocols for the Environmental Protection Administration and local authorities to follow when providing assistance.