Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Wednesday said the decision was taken with a “heavy heart”, but it needed to be based on recommendations from health authorities.
“The virus had a mutation in weasels,” said Frederiksen.
She added that the Serum Institute, Denmark’s Copenhagen-based agency, which specializes in dealing with infectious diseases, has detected five cases of virus infection in mink farms and 12 in hypersensitivity to antibodies. Allowing the virus to spread may limit the effectiveness of the vaccine in the future.
“We have a great responsibility for our population, but with the mutation found, we have even greater responsibility for the rest of the world,” Frederiksen said.
According to the authorities, there are between 15 million and 17 million weasels in Denmark. The coronavirus outbreak in the country’s mink farms has persisted despite continued efforts to destroy the infected animals since June.
The prime minister said new restrictions would be in place in some parts of Denmark to stop the spread of the mutant virus, including the autonomous cities of Hjorring, Frederikshavn, Bronderslev, Jammerbugt, Vesthimmerland, Thisted and Laeso.
“Unfortunately, residents of those municipalities have to be prepared for further restrictions in the near future,” she said.