Coronavirus: Denmark's agriculture minister resigns over Prohibited Sequence to cull mink

DENMARK-HEALTH-VIRUS-ANIMALS-MINK

DENMARK-HEALTH-VIRUS-ANIMALS-MINK

The Danish minister in charge of farming resigned Wednesday as he took the blame for the government ordering the culling of all farmed mink without having the necessary legislation in place first.

Authorities are analyzing the data to determine if there is a link between the strains found in minks and those in humans, but declined to reveal how many workers had tested positive so far. But other mink farms in the country may remain infected with other strains of Covid-19, the country's infectious diseases body said. The "mink coronavirus" has proved to reduce antibody efficacy and has been identified in more than 300 variants, according to research from University College London (UCL) Genetics Institute as cited by the Guardian.

The government has scrambled to build political consensus, and said Tuesday that a parliamentary majority was now backing its decision to cull the minks.

The Chief Medical Officer has written to the Department of Agriculture voicing concern that the mutation could affect the rollout of any COVID-19 vaccine.

Covid-19 can mutate in mink, which a virus can do anyway, and then it can potentially come back to us.

While there is a commitment to phase out mink farming in the Programme for Government, it's understood the proposed cull would also see the farms finish breeding this year.

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Although millions of the animals have already been destroyed in Denmark, due to an outcry from mink farmers and others involved in the industry, the cull has been halted.

The prime minister's traditional presentation of a new government member to Queen Margrethe, who formally is the country's head of state, didn't happen because one of Frederiksen's family members had tested positive to the coronavirus.

"Mink farmers continue to operate in full compliance with all legislative and animal welfare requirements and have co-operated fully with these efforts".

There are also concerns uncontrolled spread in mink could lead to future mutations that could threaten the effectiveness of vaccines.

Dr. Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization's regional director for Europe, described mink farms on Thursday as "a reservoir where the coronavirus is thriving".

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