United Kingdom bars travelers from Denmark over coronavirus mink outbreak

Katie Ramirez
November 7, 2020

The UK has announced it will ban foreign entry to visitors from Denmark amid widespread outbreaks of COVID-19 in the country's mink farms, as of 4am on Saturday.

On Friday, the British authorities excluded Denmark from the travel corridor list, meaning passengers arriving from the country could no longer skip a period of self-isolation after touching down on British soil.

More than a quarter million Danes went into lockdown in the northern region of the country where the mutated variation of the coronavirus has infected minks being farmed for their fur, leading to an order to kill millions of the animals.

Any Welsh nationals or residents returning to Wales from Denmark will be legally required to isolate for two-weeks along with every member of their household.

Denmark, world's largest supplier of mink fur, is set to cull all its mink population after a mutated coronavirus strain is discovered, which has weak reaction to antibodies and can spread from mink to humans.

The new restrictions will include people travelling for essential reasons after the new strain of coronavirus spread to humans from mink in Denmark.

State epidemiologist Kare Molbak said cluster 5 was not more unsafe than other strains or more infectious.

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"It is too early to jump to conclusions about the implications of the specific mutations", said Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, Soumya Swaminathan.

Kaare Moelbak of the Statens Serum Institut said the virus variant was registered in August and September, and no mutations have been found since, so it was not known if it still exists. Allowing the virus to spread will reduce the effectiveness of future vaccines.

Now, after receiving further information from Danish health officials, it has imposed a total ban on arrivals from Denmark, with the exception of hauliers and freight.

Nationally, the number of COVID-19 infections continues to rise unabated, with Denmark reporting a new all-time high of 1,427 cases in the past 24 hours.

As in the case of live-animal meat markets, on fur farms, minks and other animals killed for their skin are confined to cramped wire cages adjacent to one another, making it very easy for infectious diseases to spread through the exchange of urine, excrement, pus, and blood.

It said a sample taken from a gull's foot tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but there was no evidence it had infected birds.

On Friday, the Home Office announced it would step up Border Force presence "to ensure that people arriving in the United Kingdom from Denmark were compliant with the new measures".

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