Jakarta. Authorities said on Wednesday that the African swine fever had arrived in Bali following the deaths of more than 800 pigs on the popular holiday island in December, but the virus was likely contained as no new deaths had been detected on the island in the past week.
The confirmation came just six weeks after the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) confirmed the country's first ASF outbreak in North Sumatra that killed more than 30,000 hogs in the province.
"A week ago we received a test result from a Medan veterinary center showing a positive test for African swine fever," Ida Bagus Wisnuardhana, the head of Bali's agriculture and food security department, said on Wednesday as quoted by Antara news agency.
Ida said Bali needed to call the Medan veterinary center to help with detecting the virus as the island lacks the required equipment.
He said a total of 808 hogs died from the virus in December, but the agency detected no death with similar symptoms in the past six days.
"We hope people will remain calm. This virus cannot transfer to humans," Ida said.
The revelation came after the government said earlier this week it will stop some livestock and food imports from China to prevent the novel 2019 nCoV coronavirus from spreading into the country.
Hindu-majority Bali has more than 690,000 pigs, one of the largest population of hogs in Indonesia – the world's most populous Muslim nation – behind its Christian-majority regions of East Nusa Tenggara and North Sumatra.
Most pig farmers in Indonesia are small-holding ones, raising the farm animal in their backyard or small fields.
African swine fever is almost always fatal to pigs, having destroyed half of China's pig population. Indonesia's neighbors like Cambodia, East Timor, Myanmar, Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam have also reported outbreaks of African swine fever in their territory.