Ontario confirms first case of South African COVID-19 variant

Feb 1 2021, 12:50 pm

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health confirmed the first case of the South African COVID-19 variant in the province.

During a press conference on Monday afternoon, Dr. David Williams said the resident is from Peel Region and hasn’t recently travelled or come into contact with someone who has travelled.

Williams said that the public health unit in Peel is continuing to investigate the case and is following appropriate case and contact management.

He added that 22 countries have reported over 600 cases to date. The variant was first detected in December 2020.

There are six cases in Alberta and three in BC, with some having a travel history, while others did not travel outside of Canada.

“It does have a higher viral load meaning it’s more transmissible,” Williams said, adding that he will not be “surprised” if Canada sees more of variants from Africa and Brazil.

It was also confirmed that there are now 69 UK COVID-19 variants detected in the province.

In order to mitigate the variants, starting February 1 all incoming international travellers must take a mandatory COVID-19 test. As they await the result, they will be required to be in quarantine for three days at a supervised hotel. The stay will cost $2,000 per person – which includes the cost of private tests and the hotel stay.

If they receive a negative test result, they can go home to quarantine with enhanced supervision. But if the test is positive, they will be taken to a government facility.

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