LATEST: State of emergency planned in Latvia amid swine fever outbreak

  • 2014-06-30
  • From wire reports, RIGA

A state of emergency is set to be declared in areas affected by African swine fever, Latvian Agriculture Minister Janis Duklavs has said.

An area the size of 5,000 square kilometers in southeastern Latvia where the outbreak originally occurred will be tightly controlled under new plans.

African swine fever, a disease that causes high mortality rates in pigs was discovered for the first time in Latvia earlier this year. The disease is harmless to humans.

Vehicles will be inspected on a regular basis as part of the plans whilst. Plans include that members of the Food and Veterinary Service can access private property to carry out all the necessary measures to disinfect and stop the spread of the disease also.

Under new plans, compensation will be evaluated and paid out to those affected by the African swine fever outbreak.

The State Forest Service will be tasked with identifying and tallying the wild-boar population in the region and coordinate the hunting of the wild-boar population.

The Interior Ministry has been tasked to set-up inspection and control posts and patrol the local roads in and out the quarantine zone, as well as inspect vehicles exiting the quarantine zone.

The Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry has been tasked with overseeing the liquidation of infected animals.

Meanwhile, local governments will help in assisting in the fight to contain the disease and not allow it to spread into neighboring areas.

Duklavs also indicated that an estimate of the required extra funds to fight against the disease, will be submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers.

"At this time we do not know how much extra money we will need, however, the estimates will be clear in the near future," Duklavs said.

Experts from the European Commission are set to also arrive in Latvia to monitor the situation. 

Meanwhile, Belarus has imposed a temporary ban on pork import and transit from Latvia following an outbreak of African swine fever in the country, the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Ministry's Department of Veterinary and Food Surveillance announced last weekend.

The Belarusian ministry approved a temporary ban on import and transit of live pigs and pork, including wild boar meat, pork products and hunting trophies from Latvia.

Belarus has also banned import and transit of food of plant origin, food additives, poultry, fish, and dog and cat food produced from products of Latvian origin, as well as production and transport equipment for these products.

Stringent measures need to be taken in order to ensure that no pork from Latvia enters Belarus, the ministry indicates.