Britain faces Christmas tree shortage because minks caught coronavirus

Britain faces a Christmas tree shortage because mink caught Covid-19, 500 miles away.

Denmark has halted exports to stop the spread of a mutated form of the virus found among the furry mammals.

The Nordic nation produces 12 million festive firs a year and is the second largest exporter behind the US.

Tree buyers from online retailer have warned the ban will reduce the UK’s supply of Christmas trees.

Founder Chris Bonnett said: “Our online sales are already up around 1,000% for Christmas trees on the same period last year, and thankfully we have a local plantation to rely on for our stock.

“But many retailers import huge volumes of trees from Denmark, meaning there could be a shortage.

“Haulier drivers can’t even exit the country at the moment due to fears around the new coronavirus strain.

"It looks like many families here are buying online this year.”

Scientists in Denmark are worried that genetic changes in the mink form of the virus could make future human vaccines less effective.

Earlier this month it was reported hundreds of people have been infected with new strain of coronavirus which is believed to have originated in mink farms in Denmark.

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Politicians ruled to cull 15 million mink at more than 1,100 farms in a bid to stop it spreading further.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Covid-19 cases linked to mink farms have been detected in six countries so far – including the UK.

The Danish Prime Minister Mette Fredriksen said that the mutated virus is “a serious risk to public health and to the development of the vaccine”.

Tighter rules have now been brought in for arrivals from Denmark due to growing concerns about the strain spreading further.

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