» Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Foot and Mouth

The PMS went on to say that the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) had announced that a suspected case of Foot and Mouth disease had been identified in Surrey, near Chertsey. Based on the symptoms, a slaughter on suspicion of Foot and Mouth had been authorised and would take place as soon as possible.

The PMS emphasised that it was not a confirmed case, but a suspected case. Specific tests would be taking place and the Government hoped to have the results of those tests later today.

The PMS said that as DEFRA had announced, because the Government wanted to take all possible precautionary measures, in addition to the order to slaughter the suspected animals on the farm, an immediate 10 km temporary control zone was being set up around the site. The Prime Minister was informed of the suspected outbreak that morning, during the course of his visit. The PMS said the Prime Minister had already spoken by conference call with Hilary Benn, Debby Reynolds, the Chief Veterinary Officer and the head of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat.

Asked whether the Prime Minister had cut short his visit to Leicestershire, the PMS said that he had not. Asked if all animals within the 10km zone would be slaughtered, the PMS said that it would be best if operational information came from DEFRA.

Asked if the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR) meeting would be looking at the possible banning of all movement of animals, the PMS said that it would depend on the outcome of the test results. However, if the test results were positive, then a national movement ban would be imposed. Asked if this ban would be UK wide, the PMS said that it had been a UK wide ban previously. The PMS added that a decision would be taken once the results had come in.

Asked if there was any way of knowing if it was a fresh leak from the Pirbright laboratory, the PMS replied that it was far too early to say.

In answer to the question of what happened within the 10km temporary control zone and would that mean a ban on movement in the area, the PMS replied that DEFRA had made an announcement and it would be best if people referred to that, as it set out exactly what the conditions were.

Asked for a summary of the announcement the PMS read out the following:

"No person shall move any susceptible animal into or out of the zone, except where the movement is through the zone without stopping or necessary to complete a journey started before the creation of the zone."

Asked if he knew how many animals would be slaughtered at this stage, the PMS said he did not have that information.

Asked how far Chertsey was from Pirbright and would the Government be making any assumptions on the matter, the PMS replied that no assumptions would be made until the test results were known. The PMS added that he did not know the exact distance between Chertsey and Pirbright.

Asked if there was a 21-day probation period and had this period elapsed since the last outbreak, the PMS replied that it had been more than 21 days.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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