Expert in preventive veterinary medicine: "Foot-and-mouth disease is a very dangerous disease and the Australian government must ensure the readiness of the borders to protect Australia from the virus".
The Australian Livestock Council has warned that if foot-and-mouth disease enters Australia, it could cost the livestock industry $80 billion over the next 10 years.
The Australian federal government has announced a new package of biosecurity measures after viral fragments of foot-and-mouth disease were discovered in pork products at a Melbourne retailer. An unauthorized beef product was also confiscated from a passenger at an Australian airport and later tested positive for disease fragments.
Australian Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said he was confident that new biosecurity measures, including providing airports with special disinfectants and disinfectants, would be sufficient to protect the livestock sector from foot-and-mouth disease, which was discovered in Indonesia in May and has since spread to Bali, an important tourist destination for millions of people. Australians.
FMD is not considered dangerous to humans, but it is feared that its entry into Australia could lead to widespread destruction of livestock. The Australian Livestock Council has warned that if foot-and-mouth disease enters Australia, it could cost the livestock industry $80 billion over the next 10 years.
The Australian federal government announced that the decision to close the border with Indonesia is not on the table now, warning that such a move may harm the trade relations between the two countries.
The federal opposition had called on the government to close the border with Indonesia until the latest spread of the disease is contained in it. The opposition leader, Mr. Peter Dutton, called on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to hold an urgent meeting of the Australian National Security Committee to discuss this important file.
Dr John Alawneh, a former lecturer at the University of Queensland College of Veterinary Medicine and director of animal preventive medicine programs at Biosecurity NZ, says that Australia has a system of protective measures capable of addressing this virus, "Any decision to close must be based on evidence and scientific evaluation, and I do not support the closure now." The country has strict procedures and they can be strengthened with more."
Dr. Alawneh sheds light on the foot-and-mouth disease virus, saying, "It is rapidly spreading and infects hoofed animals. Although its mortality rate is low now, it infects infected animals with very painful and severe symptoms, including the animal's inability to eat and move and the laceration of the affected organs."
Dr. Alawneh explains that Australia is one of the few countries in the world that is free of this virus, and added, "From the point of view of biological security, the virus must be kept outside our borders."
Dr. Alawneh explains that Australia is following a strategy of cooperation with neighboring countries to help them eradicate the virus in its lands. He also called the former lecturer at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Queensland to work to increase the awareness of travelers returning to Australia the importance of following the rules of biosecurity to protect the country from the danger of this disease. Dr. Alawneh, director of animal preventive medicine programs at Biosecurity NZ, stresses that science has proven with conclusive evidence that the virus can be transmitted through soil and mud, shoes and clothing, and is transmitted through the air over distances of up to 90 km, which doubles the importance of individual responsibility of citizens.
In this context, the authorities called on travelers returning to Australia, especially from Indonesia, to follow the biosecurity procedures in force at the airports and not face legal consequences. Senator Watt urged travelers to take responsibility, clean their shoes, and honestly declare all meat products and any imported items upon arrival in Australia.
"If you do the wrong thing, you will be arrested. If you try to bring products into the country without declaring them, you will be arrested," he said. "If you try to bring or send products into the country, you will be arrested and we will take action against you."
As for the National Farmers Federation (NFF), its advice to travelers was clear, asking vacationers to throw out their Bali shoes before fully entering Australian territory when returning from Bali.