Russia loosens Que., Ont. meat bans: report

Russia has lifted its ban on imports of meat from Quebec and eased a similar ban on Ontario meat and livestock, the Reuters news agency reports.

Reuters reporter Aleksandras Budrys on Wednesday quoted a statement by the Russian food watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor, saying it had lifted its bans on meat from Quebec, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Michigan, citing the “improved situation surrounding the H1N1 virus.”

H1N1, referred to by some as “swine flu,” does not pass to humans through pork, but several countries, mindful of the name, have thrown up bans against meat and livestock from affected countries.

Russia has also partially lifted its export restrictions on Ontario, and will now apply them only to imports of live hogs and uncooked pork, Reuters said. The same eased ban also applied to the U.S. state of Illinois, the news agency said.

The strain of H1N1 that was recently elevated to pandemic status by the World Health Organization (WHO) has not been confirmed in hogs anywhere in the world except for a herd in Alberta, which was quarantined and has since been culled by its owner.

As of June 29, Canada has seen 7,983 laboratory-confirmed cases of H1N1 in people, mostly in Ontario (3,161), Quebec (1,834), Alberta (880) and Saskatchewan (739). Nationwide, 25 people have died who have been confirmed to have had the influenza strain.

Worldwide, the WHO on Wednesday reported 77,201 cases of H1N1 in people, including 332 deaths. The U.S. alone has reported 27,717 cases, including 127 deaths, the WHO said.

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