MIYAZAKI (Kyodo) Miyazaki Prefecture was set to lift its last remaining ban on transfers of animals at midnight Monday, leaving the region free from any restrictions on moving livestock more than three months after the first case of foot-and-mouth disease was confirmed.

Miyazaki Gov. Hideo Higashikokubaru plans to issue a declaration of safety with the lifting of the ban after the epidemic severely hit local livestock farming, forcing the prefecture to slaughter about 289,000 pigs and cows to contain the disease.

The spread of the epidemic led to temporary closures of public facilities and cancellations of sports and other public events, while the prefectural government asked residents in the affected and surrounding areas to refrain from going out unless absolutely necessary.

Last week, the prefecture started having vets conduct visual checks on most of the roughly 940,000 livestock in Miyazaki before it declares an official end to the epidemic in late August, when excreta disposals will be completed at the farms affected by the epidemic.

The first confirmed case of foot-and-mouth was reported in the town of Tsuno on April 20 before it spread to 11 municipalities, including the city of Miyakonojo, a major livestock center.

Higashikokubaru declared a state of emergency May 18 and partially lifted the state of emergency rule on July 1.

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