Taiwan starts checking carry-on baggage from PH due to alleged African Swine Fever

UNTV News   •   August 19, 2019   •   910

MANILA, Philippines – The Taiwan government has started checking carry-on baggage of travelers coming from the Philippines for entry of pork and pork based products.

The new policy was announced on Sunday (August 18) by Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operation Center (CEOC) as a precaution against African Swine Fever (ASF).

Under the new rule, all carry-on bags from the Philippines will be examined by X-Ray machines at the airport and other ports of entry.

According to a report from Taiwan News, the CEOC was informed by a reliable source that ASF cases have been detected in two provinces.

This, despite no confirmed reports from local authorities have been submitted to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) yet, the center said.

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar on Monday (August 19) confirmed that there were reported pig deaths in certain areas in the country but refused to identify the location.

The Department, however, is still waiting for the result of the confirmatory tests being made on pig specimens to make sure what type of disease infested the pigs, according to Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Director Ronie Domingo.

“Noong 1998, ang Malaysia, namatay ang mga baboy nila at nagkasakit ang mga tao din at sabi nila ang sakit na ito kuwan lang ito Japanese encephalitis. Kayat gumawa sila ng control measures nila laban sa Japanese encephalitis,” recalled Domingo.

(In 1998, Malaysia reported pig deaths which also infected humans. They said it was Japanese encephalitis so they imposed control measures against Japanese encephalitis.)

“Nag-fogging sila at kung ano-ano pa pero tuloy-tuloy ang mortalities lalo na doon sa mga nag-aalaga ng baboy and then ito ay naging national issue, naging international issue siya. Halos nag collapse ang kanilang swine industry pero later on na-discover nila it was Nipa virus. Wrong diagnosis,” he added.

(They did fogging and many other measures but the mortality continued especially among pig handlers. It became a national issue even an international issue. (Malaysia’s) swine industry almost collapsed but later on, they discovered, it was Nipa virus. (So) wrong diagnosis.)

Taiwan’s checking of carry-on baggage of incoming travellers from the Philippines takes effect Monday (August 19).

Travelers who will be caught carrying pork product starting August 19 from non ASF-infected countries without declaring them to the authorities will face a fine of between NT$10,000 (US$316) or P16,500 to NT$30,000 (US$950) or P50,000 for bringing pork products from non-ASF-affected countries.

Meanwhile, bringing in to Taiwan pork products without reporting to authorities will incur penalties of NT$200,000 (US$6,300) or about P300,000 for first offense and NT$1 million (US$31,600) or P1.6-M for committing the offense twice. — MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)

DA Bicol confirms positive cases of African Swine Fever in CamSur

Marje Pelayo   •   February 21, 2020

BICOL, Philippines – Tests on organ samples collected from dead pigs in a barangay in Bombon, Camarines Sur revealed contamination of African Swine Fever (ASF).

Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Director Rodel Tornilla in a statement on Thursday (February 20) confirmed that swine mortality in Barangay Sto. Domingo in Bombon was caused by the deadly pig virus.

Tornilla assured that the DA and the local government of Bombon are implementing measures to manage, contain and control the pig disease.

The most recent incident of swine mortality due to ASF was reported in Davao Occidental and Davao City.

READ: DA to probe how ASF reached Davao Occidental

BAI warns pork dishes may spread African Swine Fever

Marje Pelayo   •   February 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) expressed concern that African Swine Fever (ASF) has already reached even remote barangays in the country.

BAI suspects that the ASF virus that reached Davao Occidental may have been brought through “pasalubongs” of food gifts in the form of processed pork or pork dishes prepared during the holidays last December.

Likewise, food leftovers or swills from these gatherings may have been contaminated by ASF.

Kasama sa mga pasalubong na iyan mga processed na karne na maaring nanggaling doon sa lugar na may African Swine Fever (Among these food gifts may have been processed meat from areas infected by African Swine Fever),” Domingo said.

Siguro iyong mga tira-tirang pagkain ay naipakain sa mga alagang baboy. After several weeks lumitaw na iyong sakit sa mga lugar na hindi natin inaasahan (Leftover foods may have been fed to pigs. After several weeks, the virus emerged in areas we did not expect to be infected),” he added.

Domingo said it would be difficult to detect such food items at checkpoints especially if they were skillfully concealed in bags and containers.

Ang problema natin kapag ang byahero ay inilagay niya sa personal bag niya na maliit iyong karne o kaya sa private vehicle (One problem is when a traveler places the pork dish inside his or her personal bag inside a private vehicle),” Domingo noted.

O kaya ang may dala-dala ng paninda, ang bag, hindi naman pinapara iyan sa mga checkpoint (Or the pork meat were concealed inside a bag, they are not flagged down in checkpoints),” he added.

The official calls on the public to ensure that they are purchasing pork meat and pork-based products with certification from proper authorities such as the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) and the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

Disinfection efforts, meanwhile, are ongoing on transporting vehicles at BAI checkpoints in the country.

BAI already accounted about 230,000 pigs that were culled and have died due to ASF but only 20% of this was directly infected by ASF. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

China warns of sustained virus impact on poultry, eggs supply amid rising death toll

UNTV News   •   February 18, 2020

China’s supply of poultry and egg products is likely to be hit in the second and third quarters as the coronavirus outbreak has had a severe impact on the industry, agriculture ministry official Yang Zhenhai told a State Council briefing on Tuesday (February 18).

The world’s second-largest poultry producer, China had been ramping up output to fill a meat shortage after the African swine fever epidemic, which began in 2018, decimated its pig herd.

Poultry prices have plunged this year and restrictions on moving livestock and extended holidays in many areas have paralyzed the supply chain. Farmers have been left with large inventories of birds and eggs even as demand plunged as restaurants and canteens stay shut.

Yang said that since the coronavirus outbreak, which has led to more than 1,800 deaths, live poultry markets have been closed, transportation of baby poultry and live poultry has been curtailed and slaughterhouses have been shut down. (Reuters)

(Production: Wang Shubing, Thomas Suen)

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