Ontario health officials have confirmed three new cases of the COVID-19 UK variant, bringing the total to six in the province.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Barbara Yaf, announced the new cases A press conference on Monday.
The first case is from the York region, and Yaf said he recently moved to the UK.
The second case is a resident of the Peel region. They have not traveled recently, but are closely associated with travel history to Dubai. Yaf said the passenger variant from Dubai is also being tested.
The third case is in Toronto. They have recently toured the UK.
Yaf said case and contact management for the three new cases is being done by the relevant public health departments.
“I would like to use this opportunity to remind Ontarians to travel only when absolutely necessary. If you travel, you must maintain your isolation for 14 days upon return to the country,” Yaf said.
“I can not stress how important this is. COVID-19 does not know the boundaries.”
Those who test positive for the initial COVID-19 strain and those who have a personal history of the trip or are closely associated with the travel history will also be tested for the UK variant, Yaf said.
Anyone considered to be part of a “super-spreader event” will be tested for mutation.
The first three cases of the UK variant were discovered in late December in Ontario. A couple from the Durham region and a man in Ottawa tested positive for the new strain on December 26 and 27, respectively.
Data suggest that the COVID-19 UK variant may be transmitted faster than the initial strain of the virus. However, there is no evidence that the mutation causes a more serious disease or that vaccines are less effective against it.
Canada has banned all flights from the UK until January 6, 2021.
Yaf confirmed that no cases of the South African variant of the Ontario virus have been reported so far.
On Monday, 3,270 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Ontario, bringing the total number seen since the outbreak to 194,232.