Sarawak is still ASF-free

KUCHING: The state government and the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS) will continue to ensure Sarawak is free from widespread diseases such as African Swine Flu (ASF); Hand, Food and Mouth Disease (HFMD); and Avian Flu.

Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Assistant Minister Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn yesterday assured that the state still held the ASF-free status in the Asia region and that the DVSS would continue to conduct checks at all supermarkets and remove affected products.

He said this when prompted by a reporter on the state government’s action in light of the DNA of ASF virus detected in one of 17 canned luncheon pork imported from China in a test conducted by the DVSS.

“Following the finding, Sarawak has banned all pork and pork products from China.

“From what I understand, the ASF does not affect human beings but it is not good for our livestock industry,” he told reporters after chairing a press conference on Sarawak AgroFest 2019 at Pullman Hotel here, yesterday.

Sagah at the press conference. Photo: Nadim Bokhari

DVSS director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud, who was also present at the event, explained that the positive result of ASF-virus only involved one particular pork product.

He said, “The trace of DNA (in the affected product) is an inactive virus, thus it will not affect the status of Sarawak being ASF-virus free.

“However, we just want to reduce the risk from that product, so we will continue with our precautions (of conducting checks, removing affected products from shelves and lab testing).

“The other pork products were also tested but showed negative results (of ASF-virus). We are still taking samples for lab testing.”

He further stressed that the affected product would be removed from the shelves of all supermarkets and outlets as soon as possible.

Yesterday, the DVSS has issued a statement that Sarawak had enforced a ban on pork and pork products, imported from countries hit by ASF including China, until further notice.

The decision was made after the DNA of ASF virus was detected in one of 17 canned luncheon pork imported from China in a test conducted by the department.

The detection of the virus was confirmed by DVS Veterinary Public Health, Salak Tinggi during a laboratory test using Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (q-PCR) on Oct 25.