China moves to ensure flow of animal feed amid coronavirus epidemic

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/SaevichMikalai
© GettyImages/SaevichMikalai

Related tags: Coronavirus, China, transportation, slaugtherhouses

China says it is stepping up efforts to ensure orderly production and distribution of animal feed, meat, dairy products and eggs amid its fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak.

While containing the outbreak of the epidemic, local authorities should encourage feed plants, slaughterhouses and animal product processors to resume production as soon as possible to increase supply, the Chinese ministry of agriculture and rural affairs said in a circular issued on Tuesday [February 4], as per its website.

The ministry said it released the communication because live animal transport, feed supply and the operation of slaughterhouses have been hit in the wake of the epidemic, and that fact is negatively impacting the country's animal husbandry industry.

The Chinese officials said that local authorities, without the authorization of county-level or higher-level governments, must not resort to measures such as destroying roads or building roadblocks that hamper the orderly production and transportation of husbandry products.

They also stressed that vehicles transporting animal feeds, live animals and husbandry products must not be held up. They banned slaughterhouse closures and urged local authorities to intensify quarantines to ensure market supply and food safety as well.  

The Chinese government said it has been racing to curb the spread of the virus and ensure supplies of essential products while moving fast to help vulnerable sectors and impacted firms pull through. 

Death toll, infection rate 

The coronavirus has infected more than 28,000 people, to date, and at least 563 have died, with China reporting that a total of 73 people died from the virus over the 24 hours to midnight, as per data released today​ [February 6] from China's National Health Commission.

The latest World Health Organization (WHO) situation report suggests global cases of the Wuhan virus are growing consistently at 20% per day. But the virus remains highly concentrated in China – some 99% of cases with 68% in the Hubei province, the epicenter of the disease. The mortality rate remains low, though, with the percentage of severe cases having plateaued in recent days. An update from Shore Capital​ market analysis has more on this.

Virus causing economic uncertainty

The virus has focused minds at the European Central Bank (ECB), according to an industry note​ by ABN Amro. It said comments from ECB president, Christine Lagarde, and its chief economist Philip Lane, signaled that the coronavirus was giving the central bank reason to reassess the economic outlook and spectrum of risks.

“While the threat of a trade war between the US and China appears to have receded, the coronavirus adds a new layer of uncertainty. So we’re continuing to monitor closely how these risks develop and how they feed into our central scenario for the economy,”​ said Lagarde. 

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