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Health News

Israel tests passengers from Denmark for new mutated coronavirus

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said on Monday it would test people arriving from Denmark for a new mutated strain of coronavirus stemming from Danish mink farms, and ask them to self-isolate.

The health ministry issued the statement after unconfirmed reports by N12 News and other media that three Israelis returning from Denmark were suspected of having been infected with the new strain.

“The likelihood of a patient carrying the mutation arriving in Israel is low ... At the same time we are exercising extra caution,” the ministry said.

It did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether any passengers returning from Denmark were suspected of having been infected.

“The Ministry of Health, together with the Home Front Command, has issued a list of passengers who have returned from Denmark and has been in contact with them since this morning to perform a special sampling for the corona and test the mutation,” the ministry said.

Denmark has been added to the list of “red countries” from which all passengers are required to quarantine upon arrival, it added.

Denmark announced strict new lockdown rules on Thursday in its north after authorities discovered a mutated coronavirus strain in minks bred in the region.

It said it would cull all of the country’s minks - up to 17 million - to prevent human contagion with the mutated coronavirus, which authorities said could be more resistant to future vaccines.

Israel’s borders have largely been closed to foreign nationals since the coronavirus outbreak. It began easing its second national lockdown last month.

With a population of nine million, Israel has so far reported more than 300,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,674 deaths.

Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Steve Scheer and Andrew Heavens

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