Foot-And-Mouth Disease: Control Measures Agreed For Cyprus
Member States backed a Commission Decision on protection measures due to foot-and-mouth disease in Cyprus. The decision follows the confirmation of the outbreak by the Cypriot authorities yesterday based on the results of tests carried out by the Community Reference Laboratory in Pirbright (UK) which were positive for the O type of the virus, and the detection of clinical signs in some sheep. The Cypriot authorities had reported suspicions of FMD in sheep in the Larnaca District some days ago, and had on that basis already implemented the measures which the Decision confirms. The Commission has also sent 2 experts from the EU emergency veterinary team to Cyprus to provide technical on-the-spot support. The Standing Committee also endorsed a Commission proposal to amend further the foot-and-mouth disease restrictions in Great Britain, due to the favourable disease situation there.
Measures in Cyprus reinforced
In response to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in sheep in Dromolaxia, the Standing Committee today voted in favour of a Decision reinforcing the precautionary measures in Cyprus. In line with EU legislation, the Cypriot authorities culled the sheep in the affected flocks and established a 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone around the infected holding. Within these zones, stringent movement restrictions apply, surveillance has been stepped up and biosecurity measures have been strengthened.
Under the Decision agreed today, these measures are confirmed and Cyprus has been categorised as a high risk zone. This means that there is a standstill on all livestock movements and no live cattle, sheep, goats or pigs, or products from these animals, can be dispatched from Cyprus, and other Member States cannot send any such live animals to Cyprus. In accordance with the provisions of EU legislation, the Decision allows certain derogations whereby certain safe products (including halloumi cheese, which is heat-treated before leaving the dairy) will still be allowed to be exported. Livestock will only be allowed to be moved to slaughterhouses so long as strict animal health conditions are met. The Commission is working closely with the Cypriot authorities to help them contain and eradicate the virus, and has sent a number of EU experts to Cyprus to assist with the situation.
Measures for Great Britain amended further
The Standing Committee also agreed today to allow meat and animal products to be dispatched again from most of Great Britain, given the fact that there have been no new FMD outbreaks since mid-September. Under the Decision agreed today, Great Britain will be divided into 3 zones according to risk. The area immediately surrounding the holdings where the outbreaks occurred will remain a high risk zone, from which no ruminants or their products can be dispatched and in which movement restrictions will continue to apply.
A moderate risk buffer zone will surround the high risk zone. In this moderate zone, the movement restrictions for susceptible animals and untreated products will remain in place, but fresh beef and sheep meat from the zone may be exported, subject to strict animal health conditions. These conditions include a pre-slaughter standstill on the holdings where the animals are kept, post and ante-mortem inspections at the slaughterhouse and a 24-hour quarantine for the meat prior to dispatch. The rest of Great Britain will be considered a low risk zone. This means that movement restrictions will no longer apply and the meat and products of susceptible animals will be allowed to be traded freely again. However, as a precautionary measure, the export of live animals, semen and embryos from any part of Great Britain will still be banned.