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Pakistan benefits from Kuwait’s ban on import of Indian fruits: FPCCI

KARACHI: Pakistan’s fruit exports to Kuwait will likely to be doubled after the Middle East country banned imports of fruits and vegetables from India, due to the Nipah virus outbreak.

The ban on India would have positive effect for Pakistani fruit and vegetable exports to Kuwait, which  will eventually double in the volume, Waheed Ahmed, the vice president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) said.

As per current situation, it is observed that at present the crops at two Indian states have affected by the Nipah Virus, and the outbreak spreading in southern state of Kerala and other states in India’s south.

Ahmed clarified that as per Kuwaiti Food Safety Review, a warning has been issued since this Nipah virus is a risk for both humans and animals. Kuwait’s trade ministry, has also imposed ban on the imports of fruits and vegetables from India, in an earlier statement.

He also stated that an advisory had been issued to implement precautionary measures considered important by the health authorities in Kuwait.

A committee at the Public Authority for Food and Nutrition — the Kuwaiti food safety and regulatory authority — mentioned Nipah virus outbreak in India’s Kerala is the key point for the latest decision taken by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

It is pertinent to mention here that last week, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had also imposed ban on import of fruits and vegetables from Kerala in India, due to the Nipah virus attack.

The Nipah virus has killed around 13 people in Kerala, as per a report published in a UAE newspaper.

The UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCaE) also notified other local authorities, including the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) and the municipalities of its emirates, to prohibit the entry of fresh fruit produce from Kerala.

As per the ministry it is suspected that fruit bats are the source of spreading the virus. It said it was banning fresh fruits imports, including mangoes, dates, and bananas — the bats’ preferred fruits.

However, Indian health officials are unable to trace the origin of the outbreak and have commenced a fresh round of tests on fruit bats from Perambra, the suspected epicentre of the infection.

Kerala authorities have sent 116 suspected cases of the virus to labs for testing in recent weeks,15 of which have been confirmed with the deadly disease and 13 of these people have died, with two patients still undergoing treatment.

No confirmed cases of the virus have been found outside the state.

As per World Health Organization (WHO), there is no vaccine for the virus, which spreads through body fluids and can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain.

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