Measures in Hangzhou will look to protect horses during the 2022 Asian Games ©Getty Images

Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games organisers have announced there will be an Equine Disease Free Zone (EDFZ) to prevent the spread of infections during the competition.

In accordance with laws and regulations, including the Animal Epidemic Prevention Law of the People's Republic of China, measures will be taken in a "disease-free zone" which will cover the administrative region of Tonglu County to the north of Fuchun River.

There will also be a protected zone to the south of the river, with a biosafety channel covering the airport expressway from Hangzhou International Airport to the equestrian venue for the Games.

The purpose of creating an EDFZ, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OiE), is to protect horses and other animals from diseases that may occur in other parts of a country.

EDFZ's are created in countries that are hosting an international equine sport event, where the control and eradication of all equine diseases is not feasible or achievable.

The OiE says an EFDZ can be achieved by the "implementation of sound biosecurity management, certification standards and procedures, contingency planning and the identification of all horses resident in the EFDZ and the capacity to trace their movement."

The zone has been designed to protect horses, but can also safeguard donkeys and mules, plus pigs, cattle and goats.

Eight animal epidemic diseases were mentioned in the announcement about the introduction of the EDFZ.

Those include equine influenza, Japanese encephalitis and equine viral arthritis.

Two expressways will also act as transport corridors for susceptible animals and products to the disease-free zone and will be inspected at stations before being allowed admittance.

Other regulations insist any animals brought into the area that are to be slaughtered must be within 24 hours of entering and biosafety disposal containers must be used where needed.

Those who do not obey the guidelines could be punished by law or further investigated if a crime is committed. 

The measures will look to protect horses from infection or fatal harm during the 2022 Asian Games, which will run from September 10 to 25.

It follows news that more than 85 per cent of the venues for the event will completed by the end of 2020, despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.