Premier William Lai has cited the threat of African swine fever as the priority for the government in 2019. The premier was speaking at a year-end press conference on Friday.
Lai warned that the African swine fever outbreak in Mainland China could have a devastating impact on the local pig-farming industry if it is not kept out of Taiwan. He said there is currently no drug that can check the spread of the disease and 100% of infected animals are likely to die.
The premier said an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease in 1997 led to the cull of 4 million pigs and cost the country's economy US$5.5 billion. The impact of an African swine fever outbreak could be much greater, he warned.
In related news, the Legislature on Friday passed an amendment that means international parcels containing quarantine items such as meat products may now be returned, confiscated or destroyed.