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UK bars Danish travelers over COVID mink outbreak

November 7, 2020

All non-residents coming from Denmark will no longer be allowed into the UK, the government announced. Denmark ordered a nationwide mink cull after a mutated version of the coronavirus was transmitted to humans.

A mink stares out of a cage at a farm in Naestved, Denmark
Image: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix/dpa/picture alliance

The United Kingdom issued an immediate travel ban for all non-residents traveling from Denmark following outbreaks of a mutated version of the coronavirus at Danish mink farms.

The new measures, announced early Saturday morning, went into effect at 0400 GMT/UTC.

"This decision to act quickly follows on from health authorities in Denmark reporting widespread outbreaks of coronavirus in mink farms," Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Twitter.

"Keeping the UK public safe remains our top priority," he added.

Under the new rules, British citizens and permanent residents returning from Denmark — either directly or indirectly — will need to quarantine with others in their household for 14 days.

The ban does not apply to freight drivers and other transporters. The restrictions will be reviewed after a week.

The UK initially responded to the news on Thursday by announcing that all travelers would be required to self-isolate

Denmark defends measures

On Wednesday, Denmark announced that a mutated version of the coronavirus had been transmitted from minks to humans, infecting 12 people in the north of the country.

The government ordered a nationwide cull of the country's roughly 17 million farmed minks. They also announced strict new lockdown rules to contain the spread.

Danish officials warned that the mutated strain could threaten the effectiveness of any future COVID-19 vaccine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said there is currently no evidence that any of the known coronavirus mutations pose an increased threat to humans.

The Danish government, however, defended the strict order to slaughter the country's farmed minks, saying it would not take any risk.

Denmark's infections diseases institute has identified five variants of the virus stemming from mink, but only one, known as cluster 5, showed "reduced sensitivity" towards antibodies.

There have been several cases of coronavirus outbreaks at mink farms in the Netherlands as well, which prompted 100 farms to temporarily shutin late August.

rs/mm (AFP, Reuters)