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The coronavirus has been found at a mink farm in Lithuania's central district of Jonava, the country's State Food and Veterinary Service told BNS on Thursday.
Coronavirus found at mink farm in Jonava District
© Reuters / Scanpix

The State Food and Veterinary Service says the coronavirus was detected on the farm after 169 minks died and were later tested positive for COVID-19.

"To confirm or deny the suspicions and also identify the true scale of the spread of the virus, 22 additional samples were selected on Wednesday. Their results also confirmed COVID 19," Darius Remeika, director, of the State Food and Veterinary Service, said.

Upon receipt of information on a suspected coronavirus outbreak on the farm, it was put under operational restrictions on Tuesday and any transportation of animals, feeds or other animal products out of the farm was banned.

It was also decided to cull some 40 animals kept in 22 cages and safely destroy their carcasses. The farm has some 60,000 fur animals, the State Food and Veterinary Service said.

Meanwhile, the head of Vilkijos Ukis earlier told BNS there are over 30,000 minks on the farm.

"They are all undergoing tests since last week, and tests were done at Danmink, and they all came back negative," the animal breeder said.

Tallat-Kelpsa believes minks could have contracted the virus from an infected worker. "I learnt about that only yesterday," he said.

Further actions will be coordinated with the State Food and Veterinary Service, the head of Vilkijos Ukis said. „There's a whole spectrum of solutions, based on what other countries do. For example, the United States and Sweden do not even cull sick minks, do not destroy them, but are just taking safety measures to protect people and prevent the virus from spreading outside farms, letting minks to be ill and gain immunity," Tallat-Kelpsa said. "We'll see what's next. If they decide to cull them, then we will be raising the issue of compensation."

Minks in Lithuania underwent preventive tests after coronavirus outbreaks were recorded on mink farms in Denmark initially, and later in Spain, Italy, the US, the Netherlands, Sweden and Greece.

Lithuanian mink breeders are required to provide information on dead animals every week. Moreover, a ban to import live minks from coronavirus-affected countries came in force in Lithuania in the middle of November.

86 farms in Lithuania currently have over 1.6 million minks, according to the SFVS data.

BNS
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