UK bans entry to all visitors from Denmark over Covid-19 mink mutation
Northern Ireland’s health minister has been in contact with Stephen Donnelly over matter
A mink looks out from its cage at a Danish farm which has to kill off its herd. Photograph: Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP
The UK government said on Saturday it was immediately banning entry to visitors from Denmark in response to concern over outbreaks of coronavirus on Danish mink farms.
Denmark has announced strict new lockdown rules and a nationwide mink cull after authorities discovered a mutated coronavirus strain in the animals. The UK initially responded by announcing on Thursday that all travellers arriving from the country would be required to self-isolate on arrival.
However on Saturday after receiving further information from Danish health officials, it has imposed a total ban on arrivals from Denmark, with the exception of hauliers and freight.
“Visitors arriving into the UK from Denmark will not be permitted entry into the UK,” UK transport minister Grant Shapps said on Twitter.
“This decision to act quickly follows on from health authorities in Denmark reporting widespread outbreaks of coronavirus in mink farms.”
In a statement Northern Ireland’s Department of Health said the North’s travel regulations have been amended to include the new legal requirements.
Northern Ireland’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.
“We are in very close contact with public health colleagues in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Minister (Robin) Swann has also been in contact with his Republic of Ireland counterpart Stephen Donnelly.
“Advice and guidance have been issued to health service colleagues in Northern Ireland.
“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.”
A spokeswoman from the UK Department for Transport said in a statement: “Unlike other travel to the UK, there will be no exemptions to this quarantine policy.
“Anyone who has returned from Denmark within the last two weeks will be contacted to ensure they complete the self-isolation needed to ensure the virus does not spread across the UK.
“The UK Government is working closely with international partners to understand the changes in the virus that have been reported in Denmark and we are conducting a programme of further research here in the UK to inform our risk assessments.”
The travel ban and extra requirements will be reviewed after a week, the department added. “Decisions on border measures and travel advice can be changed rapidly if necessary to help stop the spread of the disease and further announcements regarding freight will be made later today,” the spokeswoman said.–PA/Reuters