Britain closes borders to Denmark over mutant mink coronavirus outbreak

Britain will close its borders with Denmark amid reports of a Covid mutation spreading from mink to human.

The implications of the new strain are not yet known but it has sparked fears it could derail worldwide efforts to find a coronavirus vaccine.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has already ordered a cull of 17 million mink, after five cases of the new virus strain were found in the animal.

Denmark was dropped from the UK’s corridor list in the early hours of Thursday, November 5, but following emergency talks ministers decided to stop all arrivals from the country.

Government officials are tracking recent arrivals as a matter of urgency and all will be told to self-isolate immediately.



Mink
A travel ban has been issued for Denmark after a mutated strain of coronavirus was detected in the country’s mink population
(Image: Mads Claus Rasmussen/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

The measures are the strictest Covid-19 restrictions the UK has placed on a country, and go further than those placed on people travelling from China.

Denmark first learned of the strain in mink in June after it tracked an outbreak at a car home back to a farm.

Since then, all farms have been checked, with more than 200 mink farms in Jutland, Denmark, infected.



Mink cull, Denmark
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has already ordered a cull of its 17 million mink
(Image: METTE MOERK/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Of the 200 farms, 12 humans were found to have been infected, leading to concerns about how the virus mutates in animals.

Ms Frederiksen said the discovery could pose a “‘risk to the effectiveness” of a future Covid-19 vaccine.

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She added: “We have a great responsibility towards our own population… but with the mutation that has now been found, we have an even greater responsibility for the rest of the world as well.”



Mink cull, Denmark
Ms Frederiksen said the discovery could pose a ”risk to the effectiveness’ of a future Covid-19 vaccine
(Image: Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Ima)

Downing Street described the decision to put Denmark on the quarantine list as a precautionary measure, following advice from the chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty.

A British government source said: “No one wants this to impact on the vaccine. Everyone is very worried.”