The Ontario government announced on Monday the first known confirmed case of the South African coronavirus variant and officials say there is no known link to travel. Dr. David Williams, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said the case involves a resident in Peel Region who hasn’t recently travelled or come into contact with someone who has travelled.
It’s believed the variant is more transmissible than other strains of the virus, but Williams said it’s not clear if it causes more severe illness. Other cases of the South African variant have been confirmed in Alberta and British Columbia.
The new case was announced the same day international travellers will begin taking a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Ontario in a bid to stop new variants from further infiltrating the province. The testing order comes into effect at Toronto’s Pearson International airport, and will also eventually apply to the province’s land border crossings to the United States.
Ontario reported 1,969 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the provincial total to 270,180. However, the government noted Monday’s case count is an overestimation, as it was also indicated on Saturday and Sunday.
Officials have also reported 69 U.K. variant (B.1.1.7) cases detected so far in the province.
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