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Matt Hancock has warned of "grave consequences" if a new strain of coronavirus in mink spreads in the UK.
More than a quarter of a million Danes were forced into lockdown on Friday, November 6, following reports a mutant strain of mink-related coronavirus had passed to humans.
The "cluster five" variant was found in a dozen people who fell sick in September.
Spain, the Netherlands, US, Sweden and Italy have also found coronavirus cases in mink, the World Health Organisation confirmed.
As of 4am on Saturday, November 7, a travel ban was introduced on people arriving from Denmark into the UK.
Hancock today told the House of Commons: "Although the chance of this variant becoming widespread is low, the consequences should that happen would be grave.
"I know these are serious steps and I understand the consequences for people, but I think the whole House will understand why we had to act so quickly and decisively.
"Be in no doubt, we will do what needs to be done to protect this country."
He continued: "Clearly on global public health grounds, there is a case to do everything we can to stop the retransmission of this virus into an animal population and then back again, which can lead to these sorts of mutations that we've seen."
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A mass culling was announced in Denmark last month, but the government this week admitted it had no legal basis.
It has since dropped an attempt to pass emergency legislation allowing it.
Disturbing footage earlier emerged of mink being gassed.
A clip which went viral over the weekend which showed some of the animals surviving the gassing process before being incinerated alive.
Danish mink farmworker Flemming Olesen uploaded the video on Facebook.
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He told TV2 Nord: "It's awful. They (the mink) must die, but they must die in a proper way.
"It was very lively… and you could hear it screaming."
The horrific video quickly came to the attention of the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.
Its head of veterinary medicine Flemming Kure Marker said: "These are some very unpleasant pictures that show a killing that has gone wrong.
"I can easily understand that it is hard for a breeder to see his herd being killed that way."
- Travel Advice
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