Flights to Bali: FMD concerns

North Queensland Senator Susan McDonald called for measures similar to those introduced in the midst of the Covid pandemic.

Flights from Bali to Australia may be canceled due to fears of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease “of biblical proportions”.

North Queensland Senator Susan McDonald has called for measures similar to those introduced at the height of the Covid pandemic to protect livestock from a highly contagious disease that has begun to spread in parts of Indonesia.

There are fears that the virus could spread to Australia through tourists’ shoes or clothing.

If an FMD outbreak were to occur in Australia, it would be the first in 130 years. This will likely require mass slaughter of the animals and could cost up to $80 billion across the country in one year.

“We have seen rapid border closures due to Covid and I believe similar measures should be discussed to control foot and mouth disease and if not suspend flights then quarantine for returning passengers,” said Senator McDonald.

“Some people will say that this is an overreaction that will negatively impact the Indonesian economy, but the devastation from the FMD outbreak in Australia will be widespread not only among producers, but also among consumers and taxpayers.” it’s hard to see how bad it is, so it’s crucial to keep foot and mouth disease out of Australia.”

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said Australia is taking “strong action” to protect livestock from FMD.

NSW Deputy Prime Minister Paul Toole said on Wednesday that the disease is “right on our doorstep right now.”

Mr Toole urged travelers to be safe, not sorry, and make sure they don’t bring contaminated soil into Australia. He even begged the Balinese tourists to leave their shoes before returning home.

“Leave your shoes on because you are really putting the disease back in this country,” Toole said.

The federal government in charge of biosecurity said it would evaluate all passengers on flights from Indonesia and identify “passengers at high risk for intervention.”

Additional security measures will likely make the return from Indonesia a longer process, but Mr Toole said it was worth it.

“We want to make sure 100 percent of returning passengers have been screened and I don’t care if passengers getting off the plane take two extra hours,” he said.

Foot and mouth disease is one of the most serious livestock diseases in the world and affects artiodactyl animals such as cattle, sheep and pigs.

Originally published as Call to cancel all flights to Bali to stop ‘biblical’ spread of FMD