GEORGE TOWN: Local authorities in Penang are keeping a close watch on wet markets to check the sale of exotic meat in light of the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.
Penang Island City Council (MBPP) Public Health and Licensing Committee alternate chairman Nicholas Theng said so far, they have not come across any exotic meat being sold openly in the markets.
There are 25 wet markets on the island.
“We have been checking on market traders to ensure no exotic meats are sold, ” he said, adding that the novel coronavirus could have come from the sale of bat and snake meats in Wuhan.
“We don’t have that in our markets so far, ” he added.
Theng said other measures taken were increasing the frequency of cleaning the markets during this period.
He said the council was still waiting for instructions from the state health department on how to deal with the virus.
Theng said the MBPP has two swine slaughterhouses and one ruminant slaughterhouse on the island.
“As for poultry, the traders are allowed to slaughter them in the market.
“But we had already announced plans to build a centralised dressed chicken distribution centre to be completed next year, ” he said.
MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said maintaining cleanliness is important to prevent the virus from spreading around.
In Bukit Mertajam, Seberang Prai City Council (MBSP) mayor Datuk Rozali Mohamud said the slaughtering of livestock is only allowed at designated slaughterhouse licensed by the council, which has been implemented since 2000.
“At the slaughterhouse, our veterinary specialists will check the animals before they are slaughtered.
“We want to ensure that the slaughter area is clean, ” Rozali added.
Rozali said it was vital that wet markets are clean as this can prevent diseases and viruses from spreading.
He urged the traders and public to help keep the markets clean.
There are 30 public markets under the supervision of MBSP, and seven ruminant, four poultry and six swine slaughterhouses in Seberang Prai.
During a MBSP full council meeting earlier, Rozali said the council had been providing hand sanitisers and hand wash bottles at the MBSP headquarters and several strategic locations on the mainland.
He said MBSP would also provide surgical masks to its staff members on the ground as well as those at the front counters.