Sweden finds coronavirus in mink industry workers

STOCKHOLM: Sweden’s health agency said on Thursday a number of people who work in the mink industry had tested positive for the coronavirus. Authorities are analysing virus from the infected people and from infected minks to see if there is a link between the strains, the health agency said in a statement. It did not specify how many people had tested positive.
Neighbouring Denmark earlier on Thursday said a new, mutated strain of the coronavirus stemming from mink farms in the country was “most likely” extinct.
All farmed minks in Denmark have been culled because of coronavirus outbreaks among the animals and the discovery of the mutated strain, which authorities said showed reduced sensitivity to antibodies, causing fears it could compromise vaccines. Sweden’s mink herd is vastly smaller than Denmark’s, which was one of the world’s biggest.
In common with countries such as the United States, Sweden has recorded the coronavirus at several farms although authorities have said the minks had not been found to carry the mutated strain evident in Denmark.
Meanwhile, Ireland is planning a nationwide cull of mink over fears they may carry a mutated version of the coronavirus detected in the animals in Denmark, a government spokesman said on Thursday.
An agriculture ministry spokesman said that testing of Ireland’s mink herd has yielded no positive COVID-19 tests to date.
But the Republic’s department of health “indicated that the continued farming of mink represents an ongoing risk of additional mink-adapted [coronavirus] variants emerging,” he said in a statement.
“Therefore, it has recommended that farmed mink in Ireland should be culled to minimise or eliminate this risk.” — Reuters/AFP