UK blocks travel from Denmark amid fears of new COVID-19 strain in minks

UK blocks travel from Denmark amid fears of new COVID-19 strain in minks

November 9, 2020

Britain has banned visitors from Denmark after urgent warnings that a mutant strain of the coronavirus linked to minks could risk the success of impending vaccines.

“Visitors arriving into the UK from Denmark will not be permitted entry into the UK,” the UK’s transport secretary, Grant Shapps, announced on Twitter late Friday, days after Denmark said it would cull 17 million minks to try to wipe out the new strain of the contagion.

“The decision to act quickly follows the release of further information from health authorities in Denmark reporting widespread outbreaks of coronavirus (COVID-19) in mink farms, with a variant strain of the virus spreading to some local communities,” the UK government said on its website.

Britons returning from Denmark will also have to isolate, as will anyone who has traveled from there within the last two weeks.

Denmark has reported 214 human cases of Covid-19 linked to mink, with some seemingly carrying a new strain dubbed the “cluster 5 variant,” according to The Sunday Times of London.

“The mutated virus carries the risk that a future vaccine will not work as it should,” Denmark’s prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, warned, according to the UK paper.

Kare Molbak, the leading epidemiologist at Denmark’s State Serum Institute for infectious diseases, told the paper that “the worst-case scenario is a new pandemic starting again, this time from Denmark.”

“There’s a risk that this mutated virus is so different from the others that we’d have to put new things in a vaccine and therefore [the mutation] would slam us all in the whole world back to the start,” Molbak previously told The Guardian.

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