Denmark has strengthened a lockdown in the north of the country, where a mutated version of the coronavirus has spread from minks to humans. Starting Friday, bars, restaurants, and public transport will be shut down in seven North Jutland regions with a combined population of around 280,000, the BBC reports. Authorities say students from the fifth grade upward will switch to remote learning Monday and only people with "critical functions," including police and health workers, will be allowed to cross municipal boundaries. "We must knock down completely this virus variant," said Health Minister Magnus Heunicke, per the AP. The lockdown will be in place until at least Dec. 3. Danish authorities say 12 cases of the mutated virus have been detected in people.
According to a government report released Wednesday, the mutated version weakens the body's ability to produce antibodies, which could undermine the effectiveness of a vaccine. Denmark, which has almost three times as many minks as people, plans to cull up to 17 million animals on 1,000 farms. Coronavirus outbreaks have been found in animals in more than 200 farms. "Right now the eyes of the world are resting on us. I hope and believe that together we can solve the problems we face," Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Thursday. The Guardian reports that the World Health Organization says it plans to look at biosecurity and prevent more "spillover events" in countries where there are mink farms. (Read more coronavirus stories.)