China says curbs on feed, livestock transport must be minimised amid virus

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese authorities on Tuesday ordered local governments to ensure disruptions to the transportation of animal feed and livestock are kept to a minimum during the coronavirus outbreak.

Local authorities should not intercept transports of young animals, livestock, feed or animal products, and the closure of slaughterhouses was forbidden, the Ministry of Agriculture said on its website.

In an effort to contain the spread of the virus, some provincial governments have imposed restrictions that have disrupted feed and live animal transports to slaughterhouses.

As a result, some poultry farmers in Hubei, the province at the heart of the outbreak, are having to euthanise young birds.

“(Authorities) need to fulfil feeding demand for livestock breeding and avoid the impact of production and supply caused by shortage of food,” the ministry said.

The coronavirus has killed more than 420 people, and total confirmed infections have risen above 20,000.

Reporting by Min Zhang and Hallie Gu, Dominique Patton; editing by John Stonestreet