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Aussies to face strict foot and mouth biosecurity screening when returning home from Bali

Leaving your airport gets a whole lot longer as ‘unprecedented’ new powers mean ALL Australians returning from Bali must clean their shoes before going home

  • All Australian travelers returning from Bali will be forced to walk on sanitary mats
  • Agriculture Secretary Murray Watt introduced the strict biosecurity measures
  • Devastating disease, which afflicts livestock, is rampant in Bali, Indonesia
  • The disease could cause an $80 billion loss to the economy if it enters Australia

Australian travelers returning home from Bali will be forced to clean their shoes in strict new measures to stop a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

Passengers returning from the holiday destination will also have to take off their shoes and walk on sanitary mats in new airport biosecurity zones.

Agriculture Secretary Murray Watt confirmed on Friday that his ministry will introduce tough new measures that will be applied to all passengers to protect the country’s livestock.

“The difference with these new powers is that, instead of having the ability to ask individual passengers to do certain things and rely on their agreement, these new powers, if implemented, would apply to all passengers if the circumstances that requires,” said Mr Watt.

“Our agricultural sector is at stake and it is vital that we continue to work together to ensure Australia is foot and mouth disease free.”

Agriculture Secretary Murray Watt (pictured) confirmed that airports will implement stringent new biosecurity measures at all international airports across the country to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease

Agriculture Secretary Murray Watt (pictured) confirmed that airports will implement stringent new biosecurity measures at all international airports across the country to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease

Mr Watts rejected calls to ban flights from Indonesia and rejected criticism that the government did not act quickly enough to stop the spread.

“I think we have been bold, we are taking steps that have never been taken before. I have consistently said that we will continue to add measures if necessary,” said Mr Watt.

‘We will continue to repair the cracks in the wall, the biosecurity wall that the previous cabinet left behind.’

The mats contain a citric acid solution, designed to remove dirt from the shoe sole before being coated with acid.

Other biosecurity measures include passenger statements, profiling of all travelers entering from Indonesia, real-time risk assessments, interrogation and shoe shine.

The new Biosecurity Response Zones, established under Section 365 of the Federal Biosecurity Act, will be installed at all international airports and will allow officers 100 percent to profile travelers entering or returning to Indonesia.

“These powers have been at the disposal of the Australian Government for seven years and have never been used,” said Mr Watt.

“We would be the first government in Australian history to use these powers to force all passengers to comply with biosafety requirements.”

All Australian travelers returning home from Bali will be forced to clean their shoes or step over sanitary mats in designated response zones at the airport

All Australian travelers returning home from Bali will be forced to clean their shoes or step over sanitary mats in designated response zones at the airport

Last week, the government announced a $14 million biosecurity package to increase frontline defenses at airports and postal centers, as well as support Indonesia and neighboring countries to stop the spread.

Foot-and-mouth disease is a viral disease that causes lesions and lameness in livestock, including cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.

An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease would cripple Australia’s agricultural sector as a single local case would lead to widespread slaughter of animals and end the movement of livestock.

Indonesia is struggling with the spread of the disease recently discovered in Bali.

If allowed to spread in Australia, the disease is predicted to hit the economy by $80 billion in 10 years.

Foot-and-mouth disease is a viral disease that causes lesions and lameness in livestock and is predicted to hit the economy by $80 billion in a decade if it spreads to Australia

Foot-and-mouth disease is a viral disease that causes lesions and lameness in livestock and is predicted to hit the economy by $80 billion in a decade if it spreads to Australia

Indonesia grapples with the spread of the foot-and-mouth disease recently discovered in Bali (stock image), a popular holiday destination for Australians

Indonesia grapples with the spread of the foot-and-mouth disease recently discovered in Bali (stock image), a popular holiday destination for Australians

Viral fragments of foot-and-mouth disease were found in pork products at a Melbourne retailer on Wednesday.

The products, believed to be imported from China, were detected in Melbourne’s CBD as part of routine surveillance and have been seized.

Australia remains free of the diseases as the live virus was not detected, but Mr Watt’s reiterated the importance of biosecurity measures.

That’s despite Senator Watt admitting that the biggest risk of importing the highly contagious virus into the country was through meat products — not through a traveler.

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