Health Directorate assistant director Espen Nakstad said people from Denmark who are currently in Norway should quarantine and be tested after a mutated version of the new coronavirus detected at Danish mink farms spread to people.
The mutation from mink has resulted in a lockdown in Denmark’s North Jutland region. Tight restrictions are now in force in the area as authorities seek to contain the new variant.
The mutated strain is causing concern because tests have shown evidence it could reduce the efficacy of a future vaccine.
Denmark is to cull every single one of up to 17 million minks at fur farms around the country – effectively running aground a billion-kroner industry – in an effort to stop the variant from spreading.
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Nakstad said anyone who travels from Denmark to Norway should stay in quarantine for 10 days regardless of the result of their Covid-19 test.
“It is highly important that we don’t get see a spread of the new virus form from mink in Denmark which we fear could reduce the effect of a future vaccine,” Nakstad told VG.
“We are unsure whether this virus variant has come to Norway or not. But we want in any case to prevent it spreading in Norwegian society. That’s why we’re coming out with this information now,” he said.
A number of scientists from around the world have been quoted saying they are not convinced however that the danger of the mutation is much greater than others, and that they are waiting for more evidence.
At a briefing on Friday, Danish Health Authority director Søren Brostrøm said there would be “more knowledge about the extent of human transmission” in communities, specifically in North Jutland, once mass testing has been conducted in the next two weeks.
Nevertheless, Norway’s health directorate is now asking anyone coming from or who has been to Denmark in the last two weeks to get a coronavirus test when they come to Norway; inform municipal authorities where they are currently staying of their movements and where they are now quarantined; and to complete a 10-day quarantine period after arrival regardless of test result.
The UK has imposed a ban on arrivals from Denmark in response to the mink-related outbreak.
Norway already has strict quarantine requirements in place on people entering the country from abroad.
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