An African swine fever response drill is scheduled for Christmas Day in Taiwan as part of government efforts to ensure the country maintains maximum vigilance in the face of the ever-present threat from the virus, according to the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture Dec. 6.
Based on the scenario of ASF outbreaks at three randomly selected piggeries, the exercise will be overseen by COA Minister Chen Chi-chung in his dual capacity as head of New Taipei City-based Central Emergency Operation Center.
According to the COA, local governments are required to establish regional management centers, mobilize all relevant personnel and provide detailed outbreak data to the CEOC within four hours of the commencement of the drill.
The exercise underscores the rock-solid commitment of the government to implementing the latest rapid reaction measures while keeping Taiwan free of ASF. Other steps taken to date include boosting biosecurity at piggeries around Taiwan, employing GPS tracking for all live pig and pork product shipments and imposing a strict regime of financial penalties for unauthorized imports, according to the COA.
Those illegally bringing meat products into Taiwan from countries or territories classified by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as ASF affected within the past three years will be fined NT$200,000 (US$6,483) and NT$1 million for first-time and repeat offences, respectively.
The latest OIE update confirms ASF cases in Cambodia, East Timor, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, North Korea, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and China. (RAY-E)
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