Russian and Chinese governments use "Swine Flu" as excuse for protectionism

Governments don't always act swiftly, but it's taken barely 24 hours for the Russian and Chinese governments to react to the "swine flu" epidemic by blocking trade.

All meat imports into Russia from Mexico and some US states are now banned, while pork from other countries in the region (Guatemala, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, Salvador) will also be seized at Russian borders.

Meanwhile, imports of pork products from Mexico and parts of the US into China have been banned.

Is this a reasonable response? Not according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which has explicitly stated that the virus cannot be transmitted via well prepared food.

This WHO paper makes it very clear that the flu virus dies at 70 degrees Celsius.

The measures will do nothing for safety or public health, but they will damage trade, prosperity and economic growth--which are themselves catalysts for improving health outcomes and overcoming disease.

The Russian and Chinese states should note the science and reverse the restrictions immediately.



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