Up to 1.5 million minks are likely to be put down at dozens of mink farms in Denmark due to the spread of Covid-19 amongst the animals.
As of Monday this week, coronavirus has been detected at 76 mink farms in the Nordic country, around 7 percent of all Danish mink farms. The first case of Covid-19 in Danish mink was discovered in North Jutland in June.
Subsequently, the government has recommended that all minks be put down at farms where cases are detected as well as within a 7.8-kilometre radius of the farms.
That means as many as 1.5 million minks could be euthanised due to the outbreaks, Danish news wire Ritzau has reported.
Health authorities in the country are seriously concerned about the ability of Covid-19 to be transmitted by minks.
The virus spreads very quickly between farmed mink. Newspaper Information reports that health authorities are concerned about mutations of the virus in minks that could reduce the effectiveness of a future vaccine in humans infected with mink variations of the coronavirus.
Minks are particularly susceptible to coronavirus and conditions on the farms, at which thousands of animals are packed closely in cages, enable rapid transmission and mutations in so-called “reservoirs” of the virus, according to Information’s report.
The Danish Veterinary Consortium, under the auspices of infectious diseases institute SSI and the University of Copenhagen, has warned that two new variants of Covid-19 are “particularly concerning”, Information reports.
The government has stepped up its response to mink infections as the number of affected farms has increased in October.
While all mink on affected farms were culled during the original June outbreak, this response was scaled back before being later being reinstated along with the extension to farms within a 7.8-kilometre radius of outbreaks.
A link between an infected mink farm and infections and deaths due to Covid-19 at a care home in Hjørring had been found prior to this, according to Information’s report.
The animals are normally slaughtered around November for the use of their fur.
Local politicians have called for the central government to only euthanise infected mink, citing the impact of the culling on jobs in the mink farming industry.
Municipal leaders have sent an open letter to foods minister Mogens Jensen, finance minister Nicolai Wammen and business minister Simon Kollerup.
“We mayors are in genuine fear for the continued existence of the mink industry,” the letter states according to TV Midtvest.
The mayors argued that the response risks “crushing an industry with many jobs and annual exports of around five billion (kroner)”.
Their requests include minks at farms with the 7.8-kilometre radius be initially tested for Covid-19, rather than culled.
Courtesy of thelocal.dk
Humans could catch another coronavirus strain that has been causing pigs to have severe diarrhoea and vomiting in China.
Swine acute diarrhoea syndrome coronavirus – known as SADS-CoV – is thought to have come from bats and has been threatening the livestock industry since 2016.
A widespread outbreak of the virus, which poses greatest risk to piglets, could have a devastating effect on economies that rely on pork production and sales.
In 2019, America was the world’s third largest producer of pork and a spread of SADS-CoV would be the biggest to hit the industry since 2012’s swine flu.
Researchers from North Carolina have now shown that SADS-CoV can infect and replicate itself within the human airway, liver and intestinal cells.
SADS-CoV belongs to the same family of viruses as SARS-CoV-2 – the agent behind the COVID-19 pandemic.
SADS-CoV which has so far only spread between pigs, is an “alphacoronavirus” compared to SARS-CoV-2 which is a “betacoronavirus”.
Paper author and epidemiologist Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said: “Many investigators focus on the emergent potential of the betacoronaviruses like SARS and MERS.
“Actually the alphacoronaviruses may prove equally prominent – if not greater – concerns to human health, given their potential to rapidly jump between species.’
The researchers also explained that SADS-CoV is distinct from two common cold alphacoronaviruses in humans, HCoV-229E and HCoV-NL63.
In their study, Professor Baric and colleagues investigated the risk of so-called ‘spillover’ — that SADS-CoV could jump from pigs and infect human population, reports MailOnline.
To do this, they infected various types of synthetic cell with the swine coronavirus and monitored how the virus replicated and spread.
The researchers found that a wide range of mammalian cells — including primary human lung and intestinal cells — are susceptible to SADS-CoV infection.
The team discovered that unlike SARS-CoV-2, swine coronavirus is capable of replicating faster in intestinal cells, rather than in the lungs.
So as far as SADS-CoV is concerned, humans do not have the cross-protective herd immunity that can prevent us from contracting coronaviruses from animal populations.
Paper author and public health expert Caitlin Edwards, also of the University of North Carolina, said: “SADS-CoV is derived from bat coronaviruses called HKU2, which is a heterogenous group of viruses with a worldwide distribution.
“It is impossible to predict if this virus, or a closely related HKU2 bat strain, could emerge and infect human populations.
“However, the broad host range of SADS-CoV, coupled with an ability to replicate in primary human lung and enteric cells, demonstrates potential risk for future emergence events in human and animal populations.”
Courtesy of dailystar.co.uk
Coronavirus: France declares state of emergency as night-time lockdown imposed on Paris and eight other cities
A state of emergency has been declared in France, and President Emmanuel Macron has announced a curfew between 9pm and 6am for the areas worst-affected by coronavirus.
Ile-de-France and eight metropolitan areas – including Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Aix-Marseille, Saint Etienne and Toulouse – will face the curfews for four weeks, starting on Saturday.
During the curfew hours, people will not be allowed to go to restaurants or visit friends – but there will be no restrictions on public transport or on people travelling within regions.
Anyone who is out during the curfew will need to have a good reason, the president said.
Further details will be announced on Thursday, including exemptions for those working during curfew hours.
Speaking on French television, Mr Macron said the situation was “worrying” but the country had not yet “lost control” of the pandemic. He did, however, say the country was experiencing a second wave.
Mr Macron went on to say that anyone breaking the curfew rules would be fined €135 (£122).
He also said there should be no more than six people around the table for family gatherings, although exceptions could be made for those with more than six in their immediate family.
“The message I want to send this evening is that I need each of you, we need each other, to find solutions,” he said.
“We will come out of this stronger, because we will be more united. We will get through this, together.”
The French government earlier said the public health state of emergency will begin at midnight on Friday.
In a statement, the government said COVID-19 was a disaster which endangered the health of the population and justified the adoption of strict measures.
Areas under the maximum alert level have already had to close bars and restaurants are operating under restricted hours.
The move comes as the number of people in hospital with coronavirus in France has risen to more than 9,100 for the first time since the end of June.
The country reported 22,591 new daily cases on Wednesday, the third time in six days the daily total has surpassed 20,000.
Courtesy of Sky News