Inspectors cull illegally imported pigs to prevent the spread of African swine fever. (Source: laodong.vn)

Hanoi (VNA)
- Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), relevant agencies and localities to take prompt measures to control African swine fever (ASF) in Vietnam.

PM Phuc ordered chairmen of provincial and municipal people’s committees to issue instructions and treat all the affected areas completely to prevent new cases. Steering committees must be founded with detailed duties for every member to improve inspections and supervision.

The steering committees must keep a close watch on border gates and slaughterhouses, and educate local people on preventive measures.

PM Phuc asked MARD to coordinate with concerned organisations to supervise the epidemic, especially in neighbouring countries, to provide proper treatments. The ministry is responsible for connecting with relevant international organisations and foreign countries to carry out joint measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

The National Steering Committee Against Smuggling, Trade Frauds and Counterfeiting Goods (often called National Steering Committee 389) must issue strict fines to anyone who illegally transports sick pigs from other countries into Vietnam.

The ministries of transport, defence, industry and trade and information and communications must join work together on preventive measures and educating local residents.

Cases of ASF have occurred in 20 countries and more than 1.08 million pigs have been culled to prevent its spread, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

From August 3, 2018 to February 17 this year, more than 100 outbreaks occurred in 25 provinces and cities in China, including Yunnan and Guangdong provinces near Vietnam’s border, according to OIE. More than 950,000 pigs were culled.

In Vietnam, AFS was discovered in the northern provinces of Hung Yen and Thai Binh.

To prevent the disease from spreading, the Department of Animal Health on February 21 assigned eight laboratories across the country to administer free-of-charge gene tests for ASF.

Pham Van Dong, director of the department, said the quick and exact gene tests were an effective step in preventing and controlling the disease, as well as limited economic losses and environmental impacts.-VNA