Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced on Wednesday the government's intention to kill 15 million mink on farms due to a mutation found in these animals of the coronavirus, which has already spread to 12 people, which threatens the effectiveness of the future vaccine for humans.
"A virus mutated by mink may pose a risk that a future vaccine will not work as it should (...). All mink must be slaughtered," that is, according to the authorities, 15–17 million animals, the prime minister said at a press conference.
As explained by the Danish authorities, this mutation does not cause more serious effects in humans, but reduces the effectiveness of human antibodies, which threatens the development of a vaccine for Covid-19.
Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said around half of the 783 cases of people infected with the coronavirus in the northern part of the country with large mink farms "are related".
Maintaining mink farms is a high public health risk both in Denmark and abroad, said Kare Moelbak, representative of the Danish Infectious Disease Control Agency (SSI).
Denmark is the world's first exporter of mink skins, which are grown on 1,500 farms. It exports 17 million skins annually, most of which goes to China and Hong Kong.
12 cases of human transmission of the mutant virus have been detected in northern Jutland in the west of the country, which has the highest number of farms.
Danish Food Minister Morgens Jensen said 207 farms are currently infected with the virus, up from 41 last month.
The killing of infected farms in Denmark started already in October; the government promised farmers to compensate them.
50,530 people infected with coronavirus have been registered in Denmark so far; 729 of them died. (PAP)