China to set up regional control system for African swine fever, other diseases

Workers disinfect a vehicle at a checkpoint on a road leading to a farm where African swine fever was detected in Xushui
Workers in protective suits disinfect a vehicle at a checkpoint on a road leading to a farm owned by Hebei Dawu Group where African swine fever was detected, in Xushui district of Baoding, Hebei province, China February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Hallie Gu

BEIJING, April 21 (Reuters) - China's agriculture ministry issued a plan on Wednesday to divide the country into five regions to be charged with greater responsibility to prevent and control African swine fever, as well as other animal diseases.

The move comes after a severe winter wave of swine fever in the northern region and some provinces, as the incurable disease causes significant losses in the world's largest hog herd. read more

China had previously piloted the regional control system in six provinces in the south. Under the new plan, the whole country will be divided into five regions.

The regions will be tasked to ensure timely reporting of disease outbreaks, assess risks and put forward control policies.

They will also create disease-free zones within their regions and in addition make sure that, in principle, no pigs apart from breeding pigs and piglets are moved in or out of their regions, the ministry said.

China has previously discussed adopting compartmentalisation to better control the spread of African swine fever, and from April 1 restricted the movement of hogs across regions.

The trial of the system in the south did reduce some disease, said Pan Chenjun, senior analyst at Rabobank.

"The situation in the south was a bit better than the north," she said.

Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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