Health

Canada suspends UK flights after new virus strain detected

Toronto, Canada, Dec 20 (efe-epa).- Canada on Sunday night suspended all flights from the United Kingdom for 72 hours in the wake of the rapidly spreading mutated variant of the coronavirus found in the European country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision on Twitter and said the government of Canada was closely monitoring the genetic variant of the virus to “better understand” its impacts at a time when evidence was “limited.”

“Given the high number of cases of a variant Covid-19 virus observed in some areas in the United Kingdom, the decision has been made to suspend entry into Canada of all commercial and private passenger flights from the United Kingdom for 72 hours, effective midnight tonight,” an official statement from the health department said.

Trudeau held a meeting of the Incident Response Group, a select group of cabinet ministers formed in 2018 to respond to emergencies considered “a national crisis.”

Trudeau also warned that passengers coming from the United Kingdom and arriving in Canada on Sunday would be “subject to secondary and stricter control measures.”

Canada has thus joined countries like Austria, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands that on Sunday announced the ban on flights from the United Kingdom after the detection of the new variant of Covid-19.

In the UK, the new variant has led to the confinement of more than 20 million people.

The Public Health Agency of Canada in a statement said a genetic variation of viruses such as the one that causes Covid-19 was expected and had been previously observed in parts of the world.

“While early data suggest that the United Kingdom variant may be more transmissible, to date there is no evidence that the mutations have any impact on symptom severity, antibody response or vaccine efficacy.”

The Covid-19 outbreak has worsened in Canada in recent weeks. On Sunday, the country registered the highest number of infections since the appearance of the new coronavirus.

On Saturday, Canada surpassed half a million infections with 100,000 new cases recorded in two weeks. The virus has claimed 14,227 lives in the country.

In some of the main provinces of the country, the number of cases of Covid-19 has hit record figures recently.

Quebec, the worst-hit province, reported 2,146 new cases. In total, Quebec has registered 176,985 cases and 7,736 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Ontario added 2,316 new cases on Sunday, bringing it to a total of 155,930 infections and 4,150 deaths.

This weekend, the territory of Nunavut, in the Arctic region of Canada, registered its first two deaths from Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic after remaining practically free of the infection in recent months. EFE-EPA

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