A NEW coronavirus strain passed from mink to humans would have "grave" consequences if it were to spread as it might not respond to a possible vaccine, Matt Hancock said Tuesday.
The Health Secretary told MPs this afternoon that ministers acted "quickly" last week to try and clamp down on any possible cases from Denmark reaching the UK.
Danish scientists are concerned about one particular mink-related strain, which has been found in 12 people.
Travel to Denmark is banned and anyone coming back must isolate for two weeks, after a strain of the virus was found to have passed from minks to humans.
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty made the call last week after the concerning news from Denmark was laid bare.
People who are in hospital and have recently returned from the country must also be treated in isolation.
Mr Hancock today warned that the variant "did not fully respond to Covid-19 antibodies" and therefore may have potential knock-on effects on a future vaccine.
He 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."
The UK has banned all lorry drivers, flights and ships from Denmark after an outbreak at fur farms.
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