Wednesday, January 16, 2019

China MOA Denies ASF `Epidemic' While Taiwan Increases Interdiction Efforts

Gansu The Most Recent Province To Report ASF

Despite the spread of the ASF virus to 24 provinces and/or territories within Mainland China in just over 5 months and the culling of hundreds of thousands of pigs, China's MOA continues to reassure that their is no `ASF epidemic', and that efforts to bring the outbreak under control are underway.

Guang Defu, spokesperson of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs: There is no epidemic of the current swine fever in Africa

Date: 2019-01-15 14:07 Author: Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Press Office [Font Size: Big Middle Small】 Print

Guang Defu, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, recently informed the media that since the African swine fever epidemic occurred in some provinces in mainland China in August, all relevant departments in various localities have fully played the role of the joint prevention and control mechanism in accordance with the central decision-making arrangements and strictly carried out the epidemic situation. 
Strengthen the implementation of key prevention and control measures, and coordinate the prevention and control of disease and the supply of pork in the market. As of January 14, 2019, there were 24 cases in which there were domestic pig and wild boar epidemics, and a total of 916,000 pigs were culled. At present, 77 epidemic areas in 21 provinces have been lifted according to regulations. The epidemic was spotted and there was no epidemic.

Guang Defu said that after the outbreak, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has always carried out the release of the epidemic in accordance with the principle of “timely, open and transparent”, and timely submitted it to international/regional organizations such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and relevant countries and regions. A notification was made. Animals of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) can obtain information on animal epidemics from OIE in a timely manner.
This message, which comes a little more than 2 weeks before China's biggest holiday - the Lunar New Year - is almost certainly designed to reassure the public, and I suspect is geared primarily for domestic consumption.
With Taiwan, Japan and South Korea continuing to intercept contaminated food products coming in from the Mainland, dead pigs washing up on the beaches off Fujian Province, and the yesterday's announced emergence of the virus in Mongolia, the view from neighboring countries appears considerably less sanguine.
Today Taiwan's  BAPHIQ (Bureau of Animal Plant Health Inspection & Quarantine) has announced that even more stringent measures will be taken to interdict the virus.

In order to prevent the invasion of African swine fever, 100% comprehensive inspection of passengers haulage and hand luggage from high-risk areas of African swine fever in all airports and ports across the country

The Central Disaster Response Center of the African Hog ​​Chops said today (16) that in response to the inspection of the Taoyuan Airport on the 14th, the Dean of the Executive Yuan instructed the border inspection agency to check the hand luggage of high-risk areas for 100% of the passengers’ luggage, and the Director of the Council of Agriculture, Chen Jizhong Members of the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Communications and the Public Security Bureau and other relevant personnel were invited to the Taoyuan Airport for on-the-spot investigation this afternoon. They decided to set up three roads at the exit of the empty bridge, the immigration inspection and the baggage inspection of the Customs and Excise Department. The line of defense, in order to cope with the large number of inbound passengers emerging during the upcoming Lunar New Year, to prevent the risk of intrusion of the disease by passengers carrying illegal animal products.
The first line of defense is that the Air Traffic Police station dispatches 112 inbound flights from high-risk areas (China, Hong Kong, Macau) every day. Since today, passengers have stepped out at the boarding gates of the empty bridges and are 100% comprehensive. Check the hand luggage, the required manpower is 40 people. Due to proper planning, there was no passenger waiting time. Take the EVA Air BR828 as an example. The crew and passengers took 126 people to complete the inspection.
The second line of defense is located in front of the immigration inspection desk of the Immigration Department. There is a large-scale propaganda and licensing card in front of the inspection counter. The LED marquee at the top of the inspection desk announces the epidemic prevention message and posts the propaganda board. The passengers can wait in line for inspection. See the propaganda message; in addition, for passengers from high-risk areas (China mainland), after the inspection of the license, the propaganda leaflet will be reminded that if there is meat, it should be disposed of immediately or quarantined to the inspection bureau.
The last line of defense is located in the baggage carousel and the Customs and Excise Department's red and green line clearance passage. As the passenger checked baggage is checked by the X-ray machine, and the Taoji company will start the flight from the high-risk area from January 9th, the checked baggage will be concentrated. On the specific baggage carousel, the quarantine dogs of the Quarantine Bureau will strengthen the consignment and hand baggage inspection. The Customs and Excise Department also increases the hand baggage interception rate for passengers from these baggage carousels, especially those who have no checked baggage.
In addition, Songshan Airport, Taichung Airport, Kaohsiung Xiaogang Airport, Tainan Airport and various port passengers have been checked 100% of the checked baggage and hand luggage.
The Strain Center said that passengers are at high risk of carrying meat to spread African swine fever. As of today, 12 cases of virus-positive cases have been detected from passengers and seized meat, and passengers are urged to enter the country without illegally carrying animal products. In the past three years, the pork products carried in the African countries have been seized. The first time they will be fined NT$200,000, and the second time will be NT$1 million. If the foreigner fails to pay the fine, they will refuse to pay before the payment. It re-enters. The Agriculture Committee finally reminded the public that the Spring Festival holiday is happy to go out and go home safely. Don't be punished for violations of the rules and work together to fight for the epidemic.

Contact: Deputy Director Du Wenzhen Tel: 02-23431464 2019-01-16

China, meanwhile seems to regard Taiwan's reactions as more provocative than protective, blaming their independence movement for over-hyping the ASF  threat (see Sina report "Taiwan independence" said that the pigs are the mainland's "biochemical attack" against Taiwan.)

ASF reports from China have slowed during the first half of January, and while that might be a good sign, China has often delayed the announcement of bad news in the past when it was deemed politically expedient.

Stay tuned.