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Restrictions imposed on travellers from Denmark following Covid outbreak in minks

In a statement, the Department of Agriculture said they had been following developments worldwide in relation to Covid-19 in animals, "including mink".

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Travellers arriving at Belfast International Airport (PA)

Travellers arriving at Belfast International Airport (PA)

Travellers arriving at Belfast International Airport (PA)

Ireland is to impose restrictions on the movements of all visitors from Denmark over fears of a new strain of the coronavirus emerging in Danish mink farms.

Even essential workers will be required to isolate for 14 days after it emerged the new strain of virus has spread from mink to humans in the Scandinavian country.

In a statement, the Department of Agriculture said they had been following developments worldwide in relation to Covid-19 in animals, "including mink".

"Since June, the Danes had implemented a phased response to controlling the spread of the disease with a limited cull of infected farms. The recent developments in Denmark in relation to potential impact on future vaccine efficacy is of concern," the department added.

A spokesperson said the Department has written to mink farms in Ireland "on a number of occasions this year" and continue to provide them with information on the spread of the virus animals.

On Saturday morning, the UK introduced an immediate ban on visitors from Denmark at 4am, just two hours after they were announced by the UK government’s transport secretary.


UK nationals or residents are allowed back into the UK from Denmark but only on condition that they isolate for 14 days.

The stricter rules came into force after the alarm was raised by Denmark’s State Serum Institute, which deals with infectious diseases. They had found mink-related versions of coronavirus in 214 people since June, according to a report on its website on Thursday.

Denmark and the United States are among six countries that have reported new coronavirus cases linked to mink farms, the World Health Organization said.

Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden are the other nations to have discovered SARS-CoV-2 in minks, WHO said in a statement.

Denmark has imposed strict measures on the north of the country after warning that a mutation of the virus had jumped from minks to humans and infected 12 people.

Copenhagen has warned the mutation could threaten the effectiveness of any future vaccine and has ordered the slaughter of all the estimated 15-17 million minks in the country.

One strain of the mutated coronavirus, which has prompted Denmark to cull its entire herd of mink, has however only been found in 12 people and on five mink farms so far.

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While the mutated strain is not believed to be more dangerous, public health officials fear it could undermine the efficacy of a future vaccine.

The UK’s government’s transport secretary, Grant Shapps wrote on Twitter: "This decision to act quickly follows on from health authorities in Denmark reporting widespread outbreaks of coronavirus in mink farms.

"Keeping the UK public safe remains our top priority."

There are no mink farms in Northern Ireland, but there are three in the Republic.

Northern Ireland’s health minister Robin Swann has spoken to his counterpart Stephen Donnelly about the development.

And the North’s chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride said: "Self-isolation for anyone who has been in Denmark is a mandatory requirement and it applies to all members of the household".

"This is an emerging picture and a precautionary approach is required at this early stage", he said, adding that "advice and guidance have been issued to health service colleagues in Northern Ireland".

Dr McBride added: "The UK authorities are working closely with international partners to understand the changes in the virus that have been reported in Denmark.

"A programme of further research in the UK will inform risk assessments."


ficials said.

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