The first Canadian case of South African COVID-19 variant found in Alberta
The first Canadian case of a new, more infectious variant of COVID-19 to emerge in South Africa was discovered Friday in Alberta, the same day that two Atlantic provinces tightened their borders and Ontario warned that new ones could be on the way. strict measures if infection rates increase. they are not harnessed.
The Alberta chief health officer made the announcement of the new variant in a tweet late Friday afternoon. Dr Deena Hinshaw said the person is believed to have contracted the disease while traveling and is in quarantine.
“There is no evidence at this time that the virus has spread to others,” Hinshaw said.
“I know each new case is worrying, but we are actively monitoring these variants and working to protect public health.”
On Friday, Canada’s Public Health Agency said it had been in contact with Alberta and that the province confirmed “the first reported case of the South African variant in Canada”.
Federal officials said earlier in the day that the new variant had yet to be detected in the country.
The South African variant, 501. V2, is more infectious than the original COVID-19 virus and has rapidly become dominant in that country’s coastal areas. There have also been concerns among UK experts that vaccines may not be effective against it.
Fourteen cases of a more contagious COVD-19 variant that first emerged in the UK have already been detected in Canada. Six of these were in Ontario, four were in Alberta, three were in British Columbia, and one was in Quebec.
The news came when it was announced that, starting Saturday at 8am, people entering Nova Scotia from New Brunswick will have to isolate themselves for two weeks.
“What we’re saying here is, ‘Don’t go to New Brunswick, and New Brunswickers, don’t come here, unless it’s for essential purposes,'” said Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil.
New Brunswick announced it would ban all non-essential travel in the province.
“It is that constant movement of people between cities, provinces, countries that has allowed COVID-19 to spread to every corner of the globe,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health.
Nova Scotia reported two new cases, while New Brunswick reported 18.
Meanwhile, the Manitoba government extended its COVID-19 restrictions, which would expire on Friday at midnight, for another two weeks to keep demand on hospitals in check.
Since mid-November, restaurants and bars have been limited to take-out and home delivery, and non-essential shops have closed except for roadside pickup. Public gatherings have been limited to five people and most social gatherings inside the houses are prohibited.
Prairie province reported 221 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and nine additional deaths.
BC reported 617 new cases and 18 more deaths, bringing the total number of deaths from COVID-19 in the province to 988.
Ontario reported 4,249 new cases, a still record-breaking figure considering 450 previous infections that were delayed in the count. The province had 26 more deaths.
“If these basic measures continue to be ignored, the consequences will be more dire,” premier Doug Ford warned. “The closure will not end at the end of January. And we will have to consider more extreme measures ”.
It did not provide further details on the nature or timing of any additional restrictions.
Ford has warned in recent days that the province will run out of vaccine if it does not receive another shipment soon. Federal Conservative health critic Michelle Rempel Garner said in a statement that the Liberal government has had months to assume a leadership role.
But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed confidence that Canada will have enough vaccine by the fall for all who wish to be vaccinated.
Trudeau said he and Canadian premieres discussed the vaccine launch Thursday during a conference call.
“We agreed that it is critical to work together as Team Canada to get vaccines delivered, distributed and administered as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Trudeau said this week more than 124,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were delivered to 68 sites across the country and another 208,000 are due to be delivered weekly for the remainder of this month.
And, by the end of next week, more than 171,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to be delivered to provinces and territories.
In all, Trudeau said, Ottawa is on track to deliver around 1.3 million doses of both vaccines by the end of January, with quantities increasing in February.
Canada’s vaccine portfolio and delivery program managers are confident the vaccines will be offered to all Canadians by September, he said.
“It will be significant in terms of overcoming this pandemic and making sure that next winter is very different from this one.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on January 8, 2021
– With files from Chris Purdy in Edmonton and The Associated Press.
Note to readers: This is a correct story. The previous version misspelled Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s name in paragraph 2.