Ontario on Saturday announced its first two confirmed provincial cases of the COVID-19 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom

The confirmed confirmed cases are from a Durham area couple with no known travel history, exposure, or high risk contacts Dr Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s deputy chief health officer, said in a press release on Saturday the Durham area is east of Toronto

Both individuals have been notified and are now in self-isolation according to Public Health Protocols

“This reinforces the need for Ontarians to stay home as much as possible and continue to follow all public health advice, including the statewide shutdown measures beginning today,” said Yaffe

“The Durham Area Department of Health has conducted case and contact investigations, and Ontario is working with our federal counterparts at the Canadian Public Health Agency”

The variant has now been discovered in several countries outside the UK, including Denmark, Belgium, Australia and the Netherlands

When it comes to international inbound travel, it is not unexpected to have identified the new variant in Ontario, according to the press release

The federal government currently has a monitoring program with the provinces and territories to identify new COVID-19 variants in the country, e.g. B. those identified in the UK and South Africa

“While early data suggests these new variants may be more transmissible, there is no evidence to date that they cause more serious illness or affect the antibody response or the effectiveness of the vaccine,” said the Canadian Public Health Department (PHAC) said in a statement on Saturday

“Further research is needed to confirm these results and the Canadian and global medical, public health and research communities are actively evaluating these mutations”

As surveillance continues, according to the PHAC, other cases of this variant are expected to occur along with other high-concern variants in Canada

“Since these two cases did not occur outside of Canada, it is also important to follow public health measures and limit contacts with others in order to reduce the transmission of the virus and one of its variants to communities,” it goes on

“Given the potentially increased risk international travelers could take with this new variant, the province continues to urge the federal government to urgently partner with Ontario to conduct tests at Toronto Pearson International Airport”

Earlier this week, Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford said the federal government had not done enough to protect Ontario from international travelers, suggesting they are a problematic source of the spread of COVID-19 in the province

However, based on statistics from the provincial government, travel-related COVID-19 cases represent only a small number of infections

Less than 2 percent of all COVID-19 cases reported in Canada are due to international travel,

, according to PHAC

“Regardless of whether federal support is imminent, the Ontario government stands ready to act independently to implement an airport testing program,” the provincial press release said

“We hope this troubling news invites [the federal government] to reconsider its position,” wrote the Ontario Secretary of Health Christine Elliott in a statement emailed to CBC News

“We have long been willing to work in partnership to implement advanced testing, but will do so alone if necessary”

The federal government suspended all flights from the UK on December 20 through Jan 6, 2021, in response to concerns about the COVID-19 variant

All travelers will now be asked additional health screening questions to determine if their itinerary includes an affected country Federal forwarded, says PHAC

PHAC also monitors travelers’ compliance with the quarantine and deploys law enforcement officers to verify compliance with the quarantine during the 14-day quarantine

Individuals who do not meet the quarantine requirements can face fines of up to 750Expect $ 000 or six months in prison

“Travelers who came to Canada from an affected country prior to December20 are reminded to complete their full quarantine period and get tested even for mild symptoms and report their travel history to local assessment centers,” PHAC said in the statement / p>

Ontario entered into a nationwide lockdown at 12:01 p.m. on Boxing Day to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus

The province has more than 2 days in a row000 cases reported, including 2142 new positive tests on Saturday and April 2159 cases on Christmas Day

Meanwhile, the provincial government continues to urge Ontarians not to gather for holidays and to follow public health guidelines

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COVID-19 variant

World News – CA – Ontario identifies first cases of COVID-19 UK Variant in the province | CBC news

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-confirms-first-cases-covid19-uk-variant-1.5855361