Canada extends UK flight ban amid COVID-19 mutation

Dec 23 2020, 8:12 pm

Canada has extended its UK flight ban for two more weeks in order to prevent COVID-19’s mutated strain, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The initial ban was announced this past weekend, and it was set to expire after 72 hours.

Trudeau said the UK flight ban is now extended until January 6, 2021. The prime minister says Canadian officials have already put “significant measures” in place and have “acted quickly” in response to the situation in the United Kingdom.

Canada joins several other countries around the world to ban flights from the UK after a new mutation of the virus was found, which UK health officials say seems to be 70% more transmissible than COVID-19.

Trudeau called the situation “serious” and urged all Canadians to abstain from travelling overseas during the holidays. He said the two-week ban will help “prevent this new variant of COVID-19 of spreading to Canada.”

On Monday, British Columbia health officials said the British variant of COVID-19 has not yet been detected in BC or in any Canadian province.

BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry explained that scientists have detected 17 mutations of the virus in certain patients in the UK. She says it’s normal for viruses to mutate, especially RNA viruses such as COVID-19.

“This is an RNA virus. Which means it only has a single strand of genetic material. We have double-stranded, which gives us a spellchecker,” Henry said. “It doesn’t have a spellchecker, so we know mutations are more common in that type of virus.”

On Wednesday, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that British health authorities have reported two cases of another new COVID-19 variant.

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