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Israelis feared infected with mutated coronavirus strain

The Israeli Health Ministry is testing three Israeli citizens who returned recently from Denmark, on suspicion they were infected with a new mutation of the coronavirus.

The new strain is said to be able to spread from minks to humans, the Health Ministry said Monday.

Denmark has documented more than 200 cases of coronavirus infections spreading from minks to humans since June, the World Health Organization has said.

Authorities in Denmark have imposed a regional shutdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus from minks.

In addition, the government has ordered the culling of the country’s entire population of farmed minks – requiring the destruction of as many as 17 million of the animals.

In at least a dozen cases, the mink-variant of the coronavirus has demonstrated a reduced sensitivity to human antibodies, Denmark’s Statens Serum Institut says, making the strain more resilient.

More than a million minks were culled during the summer, with farms in the Netherlands, Spain, and Denmark being purged of infected minks.

Source: Arutz Sheva

Note:

Denmark has announced a regional shutdown affecting about 280,000 people. The new measure comes a day after the government ordered the cull of all minks bred at fur farms due to coronavirus fears.

The regional shutdown comes a day after the government ordered the cull of all minks bred at fur farms following the discovery of the mutated virus. So far, 12 people in the north have been diagnosed with the new form of the virus.

Health officials said they have not displayed more serious forms of the disease.

Health Minister Magnus Heunicke had said half the 783 human coronavirus cases in northern Denmark ”are related” to mink.

Minister for Food Mogens Jensen said that at least 207 farms were now infected, up from 41 last month, and that the virus has spread to all of the western peninsula of Jutland.

The government said that the culling of the country’s estimated 15 million minks could cost up to 5 billion kroner ($785 million; €670 million).

Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s European regional director, said Denmark showed “determination and courage” in deciding to cull the mink population, given the “huge economic impact” it would have.

Authorities have been calling for the culling of infected mink herds since June due to persisting outbreaks at mink farms. Denmark is the world’s largest producer of mink skins, producing an estimated 17 million furs per year and employing around 4,000 people.

Last year, the Danish mink pelt industry racked up exports of around $800 million.

The industry association for Danish breeders called the culling a “black day for Denmark.”

The government has promised to compensate farmers.