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Denmark has not registered new COVID-19 infections with mink-related mutation

FILE PHOTO: Mink are seen at the farm of Henrik Nordgaard Hansen and Ann-Mona Kulsoe Larsen near Naestved, Denmark, November 6, 2020. Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen via REUTERS.

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark has not registered any new examples of humans infected with a so-called Cluster-5 mutated coronavirus strain stemming from mink, Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said on Friday.

Denmark last week ordered the culling of millions of mink after finding that the mutated virus, which infected 12 people in August and September, showed decreased sensitivity to antibodies, potentially lowering the efficacy of future vaccines.

The country’s State Serum Institute (SSI), which deals with infectious diseases, said random checks did not show any new cases of Cluster-5 in humans between Oct. 12 and Oct. 25.

The institute last week began genome sequencing of all positive coronavirus results registered in Northern Denmark, where most of the infected mink farms are located, in order to check for the mutation. More comprehensive results of those tests are due next week, the SSI said.

Heunicke also said lockdown restrictions in Northern Denmark would be eased, allowing locals to cross municipal borders and reopening public transport.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Tim Barsoe; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Kirsten Donovan