Mers coronavirus prompts UAE to tighten animal quarantine rules

The Ministry of Environment said tighter regulations over the movement of animals was key to addressing the spread of the virus.
The Ministry of Environment and Water is implementing stricter veterinary quarantine procedures in a bid control the spread of the Mers coronavirus. 

Randi Sokoloff / The National
The Ministry of Environment and Water is implementing stricter veterinary quarantine procedures in a bid control the spread of the Mers coronavirus. Randi Sokoloff / The National

DUBAI // Tighter rules are being introduced on the movement of animals in the UAE following the Mers virus outbreak.

The Ministry of Environment and Water is tightening quarantine rules and placing greater emphasis on monitoring animals, to try to control the spread of the disease.

“The ministry, in cooperation with local authorities specialised in managing livestock, is implementing strict precautionary measures on farms and animal ownership, which include testing animals and restricting their movement in case they were infected with any epidemic or infectious diseases,” the ministry said. “Disinfection and sterilisation procedures have also been applied and all livestock in neighbouring farms tested.”

The ministry did not respond directly to claims that camels had been banned outright.

However, it did say that measures to control the import of camels were already strict. “Standard procedure for processing imported camels include testing and veterinary quarantine at all UAE ports.”

Some experts believe that Mers coronavirus originated from camels and was transmitted to humans.

The ministry said it “keeps a vigilant eye” on all animal diseases and is in constant contact with the OIE–World Organisation for Animal Health and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

“The Ministry of Environment and Water joins hands with its strategic partners and competent federal and local authorities to take all preventive measures necessary to raise levels of bio-security and preserve public health,” the ministry added.

“These measures include implementing veterinary quarantine procedures, tracking and controlling epidemic diseases and contagious diseases in accordance with international standards.”

mcroucher@thenational.ae

Published: May 6, 2014 04:00 AM

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