LEGAZPI CITY (PNA) – The Albay Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) has declared an African swine fever (ASF) lockdown in three towns and a city as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the virus in the province.

Dr. Pancho Mella, PVO chief, on Friday said they have raised red and pink flag warnings in the towns of Pioduran, Jovellar, Guinobatan, and Ligao City after a clinical test of meat samples from Barangay Karatagan in Pioduran showed that these were positive for the ASF virus.

Mella, in a phone interview, said his office dispatched veterinary technicians to conduct an investigation in the village earlier this week, which led to the culling of 112 backyard pigs raised by several farmers.

He said Barangay Karatagan has been declared as ASF ground zero, and will serve as point of reference in determining the quarantine surveillance and control zone based on their 1-7-10 protocol as biosafety measures.

Mella, quoting investigation results, said the ASF virus could have been contracted from a shipment of meat products from a hotspot area that was delivered to a meat store in Pioduran.

He said a “red” flag was raised in the town of Pioduran being the epicenter of ASF in Albay, while the neighboring towns of Jovellar, Guinobatan, and Ligao City were placed under the “pink” flag.

Mella explained that the “red” flag means that the town was being declared on lockdown, and the entry and exit of live hogs and meat will be prohibited as a countermeasure to prevent the spread of the virus.

The “Pink” banner, on the other hand, means areas were being declared on lockdown, but live pigs and meat products are allowed transport only within these places.

Mella said Albay’s Task Force ASF has intensified its campaign versus the disease by setting up checkpoints in the Albay-Camarines Sur boundaries in Barangay Matacon in Polangui and in Libon.

“The strict implementation of the checkpoints prevented the entry of live pigs from affected ASF areas. There were even attempts from hog traders from Camarines Sur to transport these animals through private trucks and vans,” he said.

Animal Quarantine Checkpoints were likewise set up in the borders of the Jovellar-Donsol area, Pioduran, Jovellar, Guinobatan, and Ligao City.

Mella said there were around 60,000 swine heads in the province. Of this number, 90 percent was from backyard raisers while only 10 percent was commercially raised.

Except for the three towns and Ligao City in the third district of Albay, the 12 towns and the cities of Legazpi and Tabaco have remained ASF-free. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/09/26/ligao-city-3-albay-towns-placed-under-asf-lockdown/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ligao-city-3-albay-towns-placed-under-asf-lockdown)