Poland orders coronavirus tests for mink

Marcin Bielecki/PAP

The Polish agriculture minister has ordered the testing of farmed mink for the presence of the coronavirus, the ministry announced on Tuesday.

The move comes following the discovery of a mutant form of COVID-19 on a Danish mink farm. The new virus, if it spreads, could make vaccines less effective.

"Following the reports of the Danish veterinary services on the detection of the mutant SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in mink, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Grzegorz Puda immediately took necessary measures to prevent new threats," the ministry wrote in a press release.

The tests are to be conducted on mink farms in various parts of Poland.

The minister called on the owners of mink farms to monitor the health of their animals, as well as the employees.

"Each suspicious case should be immediately reported, either to the Sanitary Inspection (people) or the Veterinary Inspection (mink)," the ministry wrote.

The chief sanitary inspector was asked to file a report on whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus was confirmed in an epidemiological investigation of sick/infected people involved in breeding or keeping mink.

This past week, Denmark decided to cull up to 17 million farmed mink after the new coronavirus spread from the animals back to humans.