China has not informed Taiwan of swine fever outbreak: MAC

Taipei, China has reported its first outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) but has not informed Taiwan, despite an agreement between the two sides on epidemic prevention, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Thursday.

At a news conference, MAC spokesman Chiu Chui-cheng (???) said Taiwan has learned through the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) of the outbreak of the highly contagious viral disease on pig farms in China.

Based on that information, Taiwan's Council of Agriculture (COA) has taken a series of border control measures and other actions to prevent the spread of the disease to Taiwan's pig farms, Chiu said.

ASF has the potential to devastate Taiwan's pig farming sector since there is no vaccine or cure for the disease, he said.

While China last week reported its first ASF outbreak to the OIE in keeping with the organization's regulations, Beijing did not inform Taiwan of the issue, Chiu said.

He said that under the 2009 Cross-strait Agreement on Cooperation in Inspection and Quarantine of Agricultural Products, Taiwan and China are expected to promptly notify each other of any epidemics or sanitation issues regarding agricultural imports and exports.

For instance, over the past few years, the two sides have been reporting to each other about avian flu outbreaks, Chiu said.

He said the MAC will continue to issue warnings against travel to ASF affected areas in China, as part of the effort to prevent the spread of the virus to Taiwan, but has not imposed any restrictions on visits to Taiwan by Chinese tourists.

On Aug. 3, China reported its first outbreak of the deadly ASF, saying it was in the northeastern city of Shenyang in Liaoning Province, according to the OIE.

China has culled almost 1,000 pigs to prevent the spread of the disease, the OIE said.

ASF is listed in the OIE's Terrestrial Animal Health Code and must be reported to the international organization, according to Chiu.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel