Denmark: Mutated variety of coronavirus found in Danish mink

5th Nov 2020
Denmark: Mutated variety of coronavirus found in Danish mink

By Peter Kenny

 

GENEVA (AA): Denmark will kill its entire mink population after a mutated version of the coronavirus was found in the Nordic country, the prime minister said Wednesday.

Mette Frederiksen said at a virtual news conference that the transmission of the new version of the virus from minks to humans could adversely influence the effectiveness of a future vaccine.

She said the government has informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of the development and the WHO said it is “checking on” the information.

The Danish government said the mutated virus had been transmitted from minks to humans and 12 people have been diagnosed with it so far.

“You will lose your life’s work, which – in some cases – has been inherited through several generations,” said Frederiksen.

“It is a day of sorrow for you and everyone who works in the mink industry. The government is aware of this.”

A WHO spokesman said: “We have been informed by Denmark of a number of persons infected with the coronavirus from minks, with some genetic changes in the virus.

“The Danish authorities are investigating the epidemiological and virological significance of these findings and culling the mink population. We are in touch with them to find more about this event.”

Due to their thick and dense fur, minks are highly desired in some European and other countries for clothing such as coats, but animal rights groups oppose its use.

The information has also been shared with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

The Danish government has pledged to compensate breeders for the loss of income and to provide full coverage for fixed costs.

The new infection was found among 207 mink farms in the country and the authorities said the minks on 67 of them had already been killed.

Danish press reports cited police estimating that around 15-17 million minks must be slaughtered.

Denmark’s armed forces, the Danish Emergency Management Agency, and its Home Guard have been deployed to kill the country’s minks.

Denmark is one of the world’s main mink fur exporters, producing an estimated 17 million furs per year.

The wild European mink is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature among the critically endangered species due to an ongoing reduction in its numbers.

[Map of Denmark from CIA Factbook/Public Domain]

 

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