Denmark, one of the world’s major exporters in mink furs, has begun culling all of its 17 million mink after more than 200 people became infected with a mutated form of the coronavirus that came from mink.
Denmark’s prime minister Mette Frederiksen made the announcement on Wednesday Nov. 4, citing concerns that the mutated virus could interfere with the effectiveness of a vaccine for COVID-19.
Authorities said that more than 200 people have become infected with the mink-related virus, and local media report that 12 people with a particular strain showed a weak reaction to antibodies.
The government said it had notified the World Health Organization of the mutation.
The WHO said that Denmark is “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,” the New York Times reported.
Frederiksen said the situation was “very, very serious,” adding that the Danish police and army personnel will help carry out the mass cull.
On Saturday, the UK imposed a ban on all visitors from Denmark. Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the US have also reported coronavirus infections in farmed mink, according to the Guardian.
The killing of all mink will wipe out the industry, perhaps for years, according to the Times.