New luggage scanners installed at Taiwan airports in fight against ASF


By Chen Ja-fo and Chung Yu-chen, Focus Taiwan News Channel



Kaohsiung, March 13 (CNA) Two X-ray machines have been installed at Kaohsiung International Airport and one at Tainan Airport in southern Taiwan to facilitate scanning of all hand luggage brought into the country, as Taiwanese authorities step up their efforts to keep African swine fever (ASF) at bay.


The new luggage scanners were put into operation Wednesday with the aim of minimizing passengers' waiting time at Customs, Kaohsiung Customs officials said.


Before the new machines were installed at the Kaohsiung airport, the inspection of hand luggage was being carried out manually by about 20 staff members, according to an official at the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine.


However, with an arriving passenger volume of about 8,000 per day at the Kaohsiung airport, congestion was building up during peak travel hours, the official said, adding that the new scanners are expected to reduce the hand luggage inspection time by about two thirds.


Meanwhile, checked luggage is being transported by ground staff to the basement of the airport for scanning by a large X-ray machine, the official said.


The measures are part of the Taiwan government's increasing efforts to prevent the entry of ASF for fear it would cripple the country's NT$80 billion-a-year (US$2.59 billion) pig farming industry.


Other measures include...