17 February 2021
Who does this notice affect?
Importers of pork products.
An alert has been issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) about heightened African swine fever (ASF) risk in our region.
The emergence and subsequent spread of ASF in the region continues to pose a significant threat and requires ongoing vigilance. This includes over the Lunar (Chinese) New Year.
Since its emergence in Asia in 2018, there have been a total of 11 623 ASF outbreaks in the region reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) – concerningly, 3 288 are considered ongoing as of 8 February 2021. The reported emergence of a mutation of the ASF virus in Asia threatens to complicate the situation, which is already challenging Veterinary Services in the region. With variants showing less obvious signs of disease, there is increased likelihood of spread going undetected and uncontrolled.
Even with COVID-19 restrictions, travel across other countries in the region may increase with the Lunar New Year, and with it, the chance of further regional spread. The OIE is urging that ASF is not forgotten in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Lunar New Year approaches.
In light of the elevated risk, FAO is calling on countries to increase ASF prevention and preparedness activities to reduce the likelihood of outbreaks and subsequent impacts on livelihoods and economies; and raise awareness.
Your assistance in communicating with your members and contacts about the importance of awareness and vigilance against this disease is vital. The department continues to monitor the situation closely, and increased intervention activities are continuing at our border.
Collective action across the biosecurity continuum remains our best defence.
If you are unsure about the biosecurity status of goods that you have brought into Australia or received in the mail, please report a biosecurity concern by calling our See. Secure. Report. hotline on 1800 798 636 or completing our online reporting form.
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