Ontario announced on Saturday that the first two cases were confirmed in the province of the COVID-19 variant, which was first identified in the UK.
Ontario was the first province to identify the new variant COVID-19.
The confirmed cases identified are from a couple from Durham Region with no known travel history, exposure or high-risk contacts, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, said in a news release on Saturday. Durham Region is east of Toronto.
Both individuals have been informed and are currently quarantined under public health procedures.
“This further reinforces the need for Ontarians to stay home as much as possible and continue to follow all public health advice, including the provincewide shutdown measures beginning today,” Yaffe said.
“Durham Region Health Department has conducted case and contact investigation and Ontario is working in collaboration with our federal counterparts at the Public Health Agency of Canada.”
Currently, this variant has been discovered in many countries outside the UK, including Denmark, Belgium, Australia and the Netherlands.
With international travel in the country, it is not surprising that a new variant has been identified in Ontario, the newsletter said.
Public Health Canada (PHAC) said: “While early data suggests that these new variants may be more transmissible, to date there is no evidence that they cause more severe disease or have any impact on antibody response or vaccine effectiveness,” declared on Saturday.
“More research is required to confirm these findings, and the Canadian and global medical, public health and research communities are actively evaluating these mutations.”
As monitoring continues, PHAC said it expects that other instances of this variant, along with other variants of interest, will be found in Canada.
“Recognizing the potential increased risk that inbound international travellers may pose with this new variant, the province continues to call on the federal government to urgently partner with Ontario to implement testing at Toronto Pearson International Airport.”
Earlier this week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the federal government was not doing enough to protect Ontario from international tourists, suggesting it was a problematic source of COVID-19 spread in the province.
However, based on statistics from the provincial government, COVID-19 cases associated with tourism account for a small number of infections.
Ontario is locked out of the province starting Saturday
Ontario started locking the doors across the province at 12:01 am on Boxing Day Saturday in an effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
The province reported more than 2,000 cases for 12 consecutive days, including 2,142 new positive test cases on Saturday and 2,159 cases on Christmas day.
During those days, Ontario reported 81 more deaths.
The new measures mean restaurants in the province can only provide take-out and delivery services.
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