COPENHAGEN, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod on Friday addressed the "concerning development" of the mutation of COVID-19 among minks and its transmission to 214 humans, pledging that "Denmark will ensure full transparency and take resolute measures to address the outbreak of mutated coronavirus."
"The Danish government takes the situation seriously and has chosen to act fast and decisively with the clear commitment that we would rather go a step too far then take a step too little," said Kofod at an international press conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Friday afternoon.
The Danish government has already responded to the threat posed by the mutated coronavirus by starting the culling of 17 million minks and shutting down the entire mink industry in the country, while applying severe local restrictions in the North Jutland region in the west of Denmark.
The North Jutland region is also preparing to mass test 280,000 citizens in seven affected municipalities, according to a press release issued by the region's administration on Friday.
Meanwhile, Soren Brostrom, director general of the Danish Health Authority, said he was confident and optimistic that the mutated mink-related coronavirus could be contained.
Addressing the same press conference, Brostrom noted that despite the large reservoir of coronavirus in the minks and "the rapidly evolving transmission" in a number of areas across the country, Denmark had proven to have a "very large testing capacity, a good monitoring system and is able to work very closely with the national and local authorities to implement measures that will enable us to retain control of the epidemic."
Five so-called clusters of coronavirus mutations derived from farmed minks in Denmark have now been found in 214 people, and the most problematic "cluster 5" might have resistance to the antibodies with its "spike protein," the Danish Statens Serum Institute (SSI) has said.
"This is serious as it may mean that a future COVID-19 vaccine will be less effective against infection with these variants," said the SSI in a bulletin released on its website.
"COVID-19 infection had been registered in Denmark on 216 mink farms by Nov. 6," the SSI said. "Mink variants of the virus have been detected in 214 people among 5,102 samples that have been completely sequenced from week 24 to week 42, from the beginning of June to mid-October, when there had been an outbreak of COVID-19 among minks."
Nationally, the number of COVID-19 infections continues to rise unabated, with Denmark reporting a new all-time high of 1,427 cases in the past 24 hours.
The total number of confirmed infections now stands at 53,180, while the number of deaths has risen by five to 788 since the start of the pandemic, according to the SSI's daily update on Friday.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including France, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine. Enditem