Ireland to begin mink cull over mutated virus fears

Danish Government Backtracks Order to Cull Country's Entire Mink Population

A mutated version of the new coronavirus detected in Danish minks that raised concerns about the effectiveness of a future vaccine has likely been eradicated, Denmark's health ministry said Thursday.

The government said most of the strict restrictions it had imposed on November 5 on seven municipalities in the North Jutland region, home to 280,000 people, would be lifted on Friday.

He said that while the Irish Government is leaning on the recent Danish decision to cull all animals on these farms, it neglects to mention that the Danish decision was based on a rapid increase in the number of infected mink farms. It has only been identified in 12 people, and no cases of the variant have been detected since September 15.

Multiple mutations of the virus have been found in mink, but a variant known as C5 was the most concerning to scientists, due to its structure.

Authorities drafted the army and police to assist Denmark's 1,100 mink farmers to cull their 17 million mink, among the world's most significant populations of the critters. The mink variant was marked the "Sars-CoV-2 Y453F" and believed to spread with the movement of people, animals and goods from Denmark to other countries.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has said it is engaging with Irish mink farmers to "consider the next steps" following the recommendation to cull all farmed mink in Ireland.

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It has recommended that farmed mink be culled.

To rectify the situation, the government has proposed a bill banning mink farms until 2022, but its apologies have done little to restore confidence, even among the minority Social Democratic government's allies on the left.

Earlier on Thursday, Oxford University and AstraZeneca said their potential jab had safely produced a robust immune response in older adults.

But the World Health Organisation has warned that no inoculation will arrive in time to help fight a mounting second wave. "We just don't need it", Balloux said.

The population of wild minks in Ireland is up to an estimated 33,500 according to a report by the National Parks and Wildlife Service which was compiled in 2009. What if we get a zoonotic disease that affects pigs in the next pandemic?

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