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China bans more US pork imports

CHINA has banned hog and pork imports from two more US states as the swine flu outbreak worsens.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has ordered a ban on hog or pork products from New York State and Ohio. It also revoked permits previously signed.

Any hog or pork products shipped to China from today from the two states will be rejected or destroyed. Products shipped earlier will be admitted only after testing.

Posting hog or pork products from the United States is prohibited, according to the administration.

Any hog or pork products from the US discovered on international ships, aircrafts or trains passing or stopping in China will be sealed immediately, the administration said.

Thirty-one patients running temperatures have been located at Chinese ports, said Liu Pingjun, vice director of the administration.

None of them were infected with the virus, according to Liu.

Twenty-six were inbound tourists while five were outbound, Liu said.

After boarding a flight from Mexico, the epicenter of the outbreak, this morning to check passengers' temperatures, Chinese medical staff will now also board and check all flights from the US.

China has developed a highly sensitive technique to diagnose the human version of the virus and will equip disease control and prevention laboratories nationwide, said Chen Zhu, Chinese Health Minister.

Chen did not exclude the possibility of the virus spreading to China, but said China has enough anti-virus drugs in storage and production since the country prepared for bird flu.

According to the US Agriculture Department, China has already banned imports of pork products from California, Texas and Kansas, after infections were reported there.

Swine flu killed a child in the US and has been confirmed in eight countries and 11 states. The number of US cases jumped to 91 from 64 yesterday while 159 people may have died of the virus in Mexico. Swine product imports from Mexico have also been banned by the Chinese watchdog.

The World Health Organization has raised its six-phase global pandemic alert to stage five, the highest since the system was adopted in 2005.

A stage 5 warning is "a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent" with little time left for preparation, according to the WHO Website.


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