Vietnam Heightened Measure To Prevent African Swine Fever

Pigs are seen at a backyard farm on the outskirts of Harbin
A Harbin pig farm feeds its flocks of pigs during the day. Pigs in China are in danger because of a swine fever outbreak in the country. (Photo: REUTERS/Hallie Gu)

Vietnam conducted drills to prevent the African swine fever from spreading in the country on Wednesday. The authorities are heightening measures to prepare involved government offices and the people for a possible outbreak of the disease in the country due to the increased risk of transmission from China.

Around a million pigs worldwide have fallen victim to the contagious fever. Recently it is widely spreading across China. According to reports, there were 80 cases of the fever since early August.

The drills were covered by the media and, in one of the footage of the state-run Vietnam Television, (VTV), officials were seen covered from head to toe in protective clothing as they take samples from dead pigs. They are also spraying disinfectants to the corpses before burying them in a large pit. The drill was conducted in the northern Lào Cai Province. After the drill, all local government created their own plans of the drill to be carried out in their own provinces.

Tong Xuan Chinh, vice head of the agriculture ministry's livestock department, said that the fever is only 150 kilometers away from Vietnam's border making it necessary for them to understand the risk and danger if it affects their pigs. He added that there are more than 27 million pigs in the country which are mostly consumed domestically. He said that pork is three-quarters of the total meat consumption of the 95 million people of Vietnam.

Chinh fears that if the fever infects their pigs, it may affect the country's economy, society, environment, and food security. He also said that the Vietnamese government is heightening their control over the transportation of pigs and pork products from China and they banned pork products from infected countries like Poland and Hungary.

The African swine fever outbreak in China started in several provinces last month including Yunnan. The province is in the border of China and Vietnam. Government officials are threatened that the swine fever might spread through smuggled pigs since smuggling is a regular occurrence in the country especially along the northern border province with China. Vietnamese authorities tracked and destroyed 324 pigs and around 17 tonnes of smuggled swine products.

 According to the World Health Organization, there were 19 affected countries and almost a third of the total affected pigs died. Vietnam plans to allocate VNĐ49 billion (US$2.1 million) until the end of 2019 to be used in the purchase of equipment and conducting inspections, training drills, and research.

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