Starting Monday, travelers from the Philippines arriving to Taiwan airport will be subject to a more strict hand luggage checking to prevent the spread of African swine fever.
Taiwan’s Central Emergency Operation Center for African swine fever on Sunday announced through Taiwan News that “all carry-on bags from the Philippines will be examined by X-Ray machines at the airport and other ports of entry after midnight”.
Taiwan has listed the Philippines as one of the high-risk areas for African swine fever after it has been reported that there have been cases in some parts of the country, particularly in Bulacan and Rizal. However, these were not reported to the World Organization for Animal Health.
Department of Agriculture (DA) said in a press conference on Monday that it received reports regarding the increased mortality rate of pigs raised in the backyards. Despite that, its cause has not been specified yet.
“We are conducting further confirmatory laboratory tests including sending blood samples to foreign laboratories to ascertain the cause of the animals’ deaths,” Secretary William Dar of DA said.
The results, however, might be available within two weeks or they may take three months.
African swine fever is “a fatal animal disease affecting pigs and wild boars with up to 100% case fatality rate,” said the Food and Agriculture Organization. Therefore, it suggests that “animal disease containment in its broadest sense should be prioritized within the highest levels of [government].”
Penalty for banned pork products
In accordance with the measure implemented by Taiwan, passengers who will be caught carrying pork products (without prior report to the authorities) from countries affected by African swine fever will be penalized.
An amount of NT$200,000 (US$6,300) will be fined to first offenders while NT$1 million (US$31,600) for those who will violate the law for the second time. On the other hand, passengers who will bring unreported pork products from countries not affected by the disease may be penalized with NT$10,000 (US$316) to NT$30,000 (US$950).
Other countries Taiwan listed under the high-risk areas for African swine fever besides Philippines were China, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, North Korea, South Korea, and Russia.
In the meantime, authorities have extended the temporary pig import ban from three countries as a precautionary measure against the African swine fever virus entry in the Philippines.
On July 30, the Food and Drug Administration has also implemented the ban on processed pork meat products imported from countries including Hong Kong, Germany, Laos and North Korea, which have been suspected to be affected by the disease.