Wednesday, February 21, 2024

NZ doubles down on foot-and-mouth prevention

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Outbreak in Bali prompts ‘refresh’ of preventative measures to ensure disease is kept out.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says $200,000 will be allocated to Rural Support Trusts who know their communities and what support is required to help people through.
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The Government is putting more protections in place to make sure foot-and-mouth disease is kept out of New Zealand.

FMD was recently found in the tourist hotspot of Bali, and Biosecurity and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor is urging everyone to be vigilant and play their part to protect NZ’s economic security.

“Biosecurity New Zealand will this week begin using foot mats with disinfecting chemicals for arrivals from Indonesia to step onto, in a trial to help ensure their footwear is clean of the virus – adding another layer of protection to the measures introduced last week,” O’Connor said.

There are no flights directly from Bali or elsewhere in Indonesia to NZ. 

“Regardless of this, every passenger arrival card is examined and those from countries that have FMD (including Indonesia) are directed to a different process of questioning, baggage search and disinfection,” he said.

“This means that should passengers transit other airports, risks are still addressed.”

O’Connor said Biosecurity New Zealand’s experts are providing him with regular advice on the FMD situation overseas.

Anyone who has been in contact with livestock in Indonesia should stay away from farms and animals in NZ for one week.

“We also ask if anyone sees their pigs, goats, alpacas, llamas, cattle, sheep or deer with symptoms including high fever, mouth and feet blisters or erosions and lameness, to call their veterinarian or the Ministry for Primary Industries’ exotic pest and disease hotline, 0800 80 99 66,” he said.

“We’ll continue to work closely with our Australian counterparts and primary sector partners, and I thank them for their work to raise FMD awareness.”

Recent measures to protect against FMD include:

• A new wide-reaching awareness campaign targeting travellers before they travel to Indonesia, through in-flight announcements and on arrival at international airports. 

• An on-the-ground audit of the palm kernel supply chain in Indonesia.

• Biosecurity New Zealand is launching an FMD Readiness Taskforce to refresh NZ’s preparedness.

• Providing regular updates to primary sector partners and the country’s veterinary network and working with primary sector partners to ensure their farmers remain vigilant.

• Providing personal protective equipment, disinfectant, backpack sprayers and other tools to Indonesia to help on the ground, as well as our technical expertise.

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