SHARE
COPY LINK

MINKS

Danish PM apologises for handling of mink crisis during far farm visit

Wiping away tears, Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Thursday personally apologised for the handling of a crisis where a mutated version of the new coronavirus prompted the government to cull millions of minks bred on farms.

Danish PM apologises for handling of mink crisis during far farm visit
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen during a visit to a mink farmer in Kolding. Photo: Mads Nissen/Ritzau Scanpix

The head of government was visiting a mink farmer in the municipality of Kolding, whose animals were euthanized despite being healthy, even though it was later proved the government had no legal right to do so.

“I don't have any issues with apologising for the course of events, because mistakes have been made,” Frederiksen, told broadcaster TV2.

Visibly emotional, Frederiksen paused several times to wipe away tears, and stressed that it was important to remember that it was not the fault of breeders.

“It is because of corona, and I hope that can be a small light in the dark at this point for Danish mink breeders,” she said.

In early November, Denmark — which is the world's largest exporter of mink fur — announced it would cull all of the country's more than 15 million minks after a mutated version of the novel coronavirus was discovered and believed to jeopardise the effectiveness of future vaccines.

However, a few days later the government acknowledged it did not have a sufficient legal basis to order the measure.

Agriculture Minister Mogens Jensen apologised and ultimately resigned last week.

Following Jensen's resignation, the Ministry of Health concluded that the potential threat to human vaccines was “very likely extinguished”, in the absence of any new cases of the mutated version.

According to the latest tally, more than two thirds of the estimated 15 to 17 million minks in the country have already been culled.

READ ALSO: Denmark's culled minks rise from mass grave

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

COVID-19

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?

The number of new Covid-19 infections fell on Saturday for the second day in a row, following a three-day plateau at the start of last week. Has the omicron wave peaked?

IN NUMBERS: Has the Omicron Covid-19 wave peaked in Denmark?
Graffiti in the Copenhagen hippy enclave of Christiania complaining of Omicron's impact on Christmas. Photo: Philip Davali/Scanpix

How many cases, hospitalisations and deaths are there in Denmark? 

Denmark registered 12,588 new cases in the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, down from the 18,261 registered on in the day leading up to Friday at 2pm, which was itself a decline from the record 28,283 cases recorded on Wednesday. 

The cases were identified by a total of 174,517 PCR tests, bringing the positive percentage to 7.21 percent, down from the sky high rates of close to 12 percent seen in the first few days of January. 

The number of cases over the past seven days is lower than the week before in almost every municipality in Denmark, with only Vallensbæk, Aarhus, Holseterbro, Skanderborg, Hjørring, Vordingborg,  Ringkøbing, Kolding, Assens, Horsens, Thisted, and Langeland reporting rises. 

Hospitalisations have also started to fall, with some 730 patients being treated for Covid-10 on Saturday, down from 755 on Friday. On Tuesday, 794 were being treated for Covid-19 in Danish hospitals, the highest number since the peak of the 2020-21 winter wave.

The only marker which has not yet started to fall is the number of deaths, which tends to trail infections and hospitalisations. 

In the 24 hours leading up to 2pm on Saturday, Denmark registered 28 deaths with Covid-19, the highest daily number recorded since 20 January 2021, when 29 people died with Covid-19 (although Denmark’s deadliest day was the 19 January 2021, when 39 people died). 

How does Denmark compare to other countries in Europe? 

Over the last seven days, Denmark has had the highest Covid-19 case rate of any country in Europe bar Ireland. The number of new infections in the country has climbed steadily since the start of December, apart from a brief fall over Christmas. 

So does this mean the omicron wave has peaked? 

Maybe, although experts are not sure. 

“Of course, you can hope for that, but I’m not sure that is the case,” said Christian Wejse, head of the Department for Infectious Diseases at Aarhus University Hospital. “I think it is too early to conclude that the epidemic has peaked.”

He said that patients with the Omicron variant were being discharged more rapidly on average than had been the case with those who had the more dangerous Delta variant. 

“Many admissions are relatively short-lived, thankfully. This is because many do not become that il, and are largely hospitalized because they are suffering with something else. And if they are stable and do not need oxygen, then they are quickly discharged again.” 

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a visit to an event held by the Social Liberal party that the latest numbers made her even more optimistic about the coming month. 

“We have lower infection numbers and the number of hospitalisations is also plateauing,” she said. “I think we’re going to get through this winter pretty well, even if it will be a difficult time for a lot of people, and we are beginning to see the spring ahead of us, so I’m actually very optimistic.” 

She said that she had been encouraged by the fact that Omicron was a “visibly less dangerous variant if it is not allowed to explode.” 

SHOW COMMENTS