The Prime Minister of Denmark said Wednesday that the government wants to destroy all weasels on Danish farms, to minimize the risk of them re-transmitting the new coronavirus to humans.
Mette Frederiksen said a report from a government agency mapping coronavirus in Denmark pointed to a mutation in the virus found in 12 people in the north of the country infected with mink. Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said half of the 783 human COVID-19 infections in northern Denmark were “related” to weasels.
“It’s very, very serious,” says Frederiksen. “Hence, the mink virus mutation could have devastating consequences around the world.”
NBC New York
Denmark is one of the world̵7;s major mink fur exporters, producing an estimated 17 million furs per year. Kopenhagen Fur, a cooperative of 1,500 Danish breeders, accounts for 40% of global mink production. Most of its exports go to China and Hong Kong.
According to government estimates, the country’s destruction of 15 million weasels could cost up to 5 billion kroner ($ 785 million). National police head Thorkild Fogde said “it will happen as soon as possible.”
The Danish Food Minister, Mogens Jensen, said 207 farms were now infected, up from 41 farms last month, and the disease had spread to the entire western Jutland peninsula.
Last month, Denmark started destroying millions of weasels in the north of the country. The government has promised to compensate farmers.
The country has recorded 50,530 confirmed COVID-19 infections and 729 deaths.