Workers had spread the virus to minks in farms in Denmark and now the minks are spreading it back to humans. Twelve people who have been infected show less ability to produce antibodies, according to scientists at Denmark’s Statens Serum Institut, meaning vaccine efforts could be complicated by the spread.
“As a government we will do everything we can to ensure that the mutated infection is contained and does not spread further,” Frederiksen said on Wednesday. “That’s why — unfortunately — it’s necessary to put down all minks in Denmark.”
To do that the country is also bringing in tighter lockdown measures in areas where mink farms are based.
Denmark has over 1,000 mink farms that produce around 40 percent of the world’s mink pelts, the majority of which are exported to China and Hong Kong. Denmark plans to compensate mink farmers, but the government said it may be difficult for the industry to survive.
Coronavirus infections have already brought forward plans in the Netherlands to phase out the industry, with hundreds of thousands of animals euthanized after outbreaks there. Spain has also euthanized tens of thousands of minks.
There have also been reports of minks contracting the virus at farms in the United States, where thousands of older animals have succumbed to the virus.