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EI lockdown relaxed in Tasmania

Tasmania's horse lockdown has been relaxed after tests for equine influenza (EI) returned negative results.

Department of Primary Industries and Water biosecurity manager Alex Schaap said tests sent to mainland laboratories had all returned negative results on Sunday.

He said there had not been a significant increase in new cases of respiratory disease symptoms overnight.

"Departmental veterinary staff and local vets have attended the horses of concern to us this morning," Mr Schaap said in a statement.

"They advise that while we do have multiple cases of mild respiratory disease on the north-west coast which we need to investigate further, none of the horses show strong evidence of equine influenza infection."

Mr Schaap said the negative test results, mild symptoms and absence of further cases provided sufficient confidence to relax the lockdown order immediately.

"Horse owners now may move their horses but gatherings of more than 10 horses off their home property will continue to be prohibited unless at recognised race meetings," he said.

Mr Schaap said several properties currently under investigation would continue to be subject to quarantine restrictions.

"These measures are necessary as we do still find ourselves with a number of unresolved concerns in terms of symptoms in the field and inconsistent laboratory results."

Mr Schaap said that formal racing events could proceed under strict biosecurity conditions.

Tasmania has no recorded cases of EI at this stage.

A horse lockdown was introduced on Friday after a suspected EI case surfaced in the state's north-west on Thursday.

- Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries


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