Saigon to beef up African swine fever fight

By Vo Hai   March 4, 2019 | 04:57 pm PT
Saigon to beef up African swine fever fight
Vietnamese officials check a site where pigs infected with African swine fever were buried in Hai Phong City on March 2, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Khuong Luc
HCMC authorities are planning urgent measures to prevent an African swine fever outbreak seen in north and central provinces.

So far, the highly contagious disease has been detected in seven provinces and cities - Hung Yen, Thai Binh, Hai Phong, Hanoi, Ha Nam, Hai Duong in the northern region and Nghe An in central region.

So far, around 4,200 sick pigs have been killed, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Tran Vinh Tuyen, vice chairman of HCMC, told a meeting Monday that the transport of pigs and pork products from the north to the south, especially from provinces affected by the African swine fever, poses a health risk.

Many traders in southern provinces have brought pork products from the north, sparking concerns about the spread of African swine flu, for which there is no cure. This strain of swine flu is not transmitted to humans.

From February 15-28, slaughterhouses in the city received more than 1,500 pigs from northern provinces like Tuyen Quang, Thai Nguyen and Vinh Phuc, as also localities where the swine-flu has been detected, like Ha Noi and Nghe An, Tuyen said.

He proposed that the transport of pigs and pork products from the northern region and other infected areas to the south be banned. A checkpoint at Hai Van Pass, which forms a boundary between the northern and southern parts of Vietnam, should be established to prevent transport of pigs to the south, Tuyen said.  

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc Monday called for provincial authorities and relevant agencies to mobilize all sources and step up measures to prevent further outbreaks of the African swine fever.

The flu is a viral disease that infects all pig species through bodily fluids such as blood and mucus. It causes hemorrhagic fever with a 100 percent mortality rate.

Twenty countries and territories have reported the disease since 2017 and over one million pigs have been culled, according to the World Organization for Animal Health.

After outbreaks were confirmed in the country, Taiwan announced a fine of about $6,500 on people bringing pork from Vietnam, and $32,400 for second time offenders, beginning last Wednesday. A Vietnamese woman who refused to pay a $6,500 fine for bringing a pork snack to the Taichung airport in central Taiwan on February 27 was not allowed entry. She returned to Vietnam the same day.

Dubai, U.S. and U.K. have also announced to ban pork products from Vietnam following the recent outbreaks.

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