China's pork imports in March almost tripled since last year's swine flu that killed all of its homegrown pig herd. According to a custom data released on April 14, China bought 391,000 tonnes of pork in March, up from 127,218 tonnes in March 2019. China, the world's largest consumer of pork, upped its pig imports to 158% in the first two months of the year, according to the General Administration of Customs data.
Swine flu cases resurfaced in China earlier this month raising concern among authorities. Media reports suggest swine flu cases were reported from Yunyang County of China's Chongqing province. Before that, China had reported two cases of African swine fever in northwestern Gansu province.
China was hit by African swine fever in 2018 reportedly slashing its sow inventory by as much as 60% in 2019. The prices of pig meat in the country skyrocketed in 2019 because of reduced pig herd and low output. As China was slowly returning to normalcy, it was hit by the coronavirus outbreak that paralyzed the country for another three months. More than 3,300 people have lost their lives in China due to COVID-19 so far and over 82,000 have been infected.
The deadly coronavirus infection has claimed more than 1,20,000 lives across the world and has infected over 19,34,000 people globally since it first broke out in December 2019. China was the most affected country until last month before Italy, Spain, Iran, the US, France, the UK, Belgium surpassed it to record the most number of deaths anywhere in the world due to COVID-19. The virus is believed to have originated from a seafood market in China's Wuhan city, the epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally.
(Image Credit: AP)