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China reports more ASF outbreaks

Announcement follows a day after government official claims disease "generally under control;" Vietnam conducts biosecurity drills.

More African swine fever (ASF) cases were detected in China's capital of Beijing as well as in the provinces of Sichuan and Shaanxi, the agricultural ministry said on Wednesday, according to a Reuters report.

On Tuesday, China's Xinhua news services reported that a senior agricultural official said the ASF outbreaks in China were "generally under control" as prevention and control measures "have been effective."

In the new cases announced Dec. 5, a total of 158 pigs were reported killed by the highly contagious disease at farms affected in these regions, Reuters said.

According to Xinhua, China's vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs Yu Kangzhen told a meeting with political advisors that some 631,000 pigs were culled across the country and measures including strengthened monitoring of live pig transportation and tightened entry inspection and quarantine have been taken.

Thanks to the efforts, Yu said the situation has started to improve and restrictions have been lifted in 35 infected areas in eight provincial regions.

Xinhua further reported that Yu said China will continue to tighten the supervision and prevent imported epidemics.

Meanwhile, authorities in neighboring Vietnam conducted drills Dec. 5 to prevent the spread of ASF should there be an outbreak of the disease in the country, as the risks of transmission from neighboring China increase, according to a separate Reuters report.

“The fever is only 150 km away from our border, so it’s necessary to understand the risk and danger ... if it reaches our 27 millions pigs,” said Tong Xuan Chinh, vice head of the Vietnam agriculture ministry’s livestock department, the Reuters report said.

Vietnam has more than 27 millions pigs, most of which are consumed domestically, with pork accounting for three quarters of total meat consumption in the Southeast Asian nation of 95 million people, Chinh said.

“If this fever infects our pigs, it will be a major hit to the economy, society, environment and food security,” Chinh said. He added that authorities were tightly controlling the transportation of pigs and pork products from China and had banned pork products from other infected countries such as Poland and Hungary.

Last month, China reported ASF outbreaks in several provinces, including Yunnan, a border province with Vietnam, and there is also a danger of the disease spreading into Vietnam through smuggled pigs of unknown origin. Smuggling is a regular occurrence, especially in the northern border provinces with China, the agriculture ministry said last week.

Reuters reported that Vietnamese authorities have destroyed 324 pigs and nearly 17 metric tons of pork products that have been smuggled or which do not have clear origins in 63 cases since August, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

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