A third COVID-19 variant has emerged in Canada, experts confirmed Sunday. The Ontario resident infected is now in Toronto hospital.
Toronto Public Health stated in a news release issued on Sunday (Feb. 7) that the resident who tested positive for what is being called the P.1 variant had travelled to Brazil.
“Scientists and medical professionals are concerned that these variants are more transmissible than the original coronavirus,” the agency said in a statement.
“U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated that research is ongoing to determine more about these variants to better understand how easily they might be transmitted and the effectiveness of currently authorized vaccines against them.”
The variant was first discovered by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in four Brazilian travelers who were tested during a routine screening at Haneda airport outside of Tokyo, Japan – according to the CDC.
The P.1 variant was also detected in the U.S. at the end of January.
B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a press briefing Monday (Feb. 8) that the COVID-19 strain has not been detected in the province.
Though, if other variants become prevalent in B.C., “we need to put in place measures that would restrict our contacts again,” she said, with a provincewide ban on gatherings still in effect.
New travel restrictions – which are expected to take effect soon – returning travellers will be required to take a COVID-19 test at the airport, at their own expense. Additionally, they’ll need to spend the first three days of their quarantine at a supervised hotel while awaiting the results.
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