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COVID-19 UK Variant Arrives in BC

Provincial Health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix say a person carrying the COVID-19 UK variant arrived in BC on December 15, 2020 from England.

The person lives in the Island Health region and was in quarantine when the positive test result came back on December 19.

The person arrived in Vancouver on Air Canada flight 855 from London.

A small number of people came in close contact with the virus carrier and have been isolated while public health workers monitor them.

The variant strain was detected by the BC Centre for Disease Control in a review of all tests from people who had recently returned from the UK, and continuing reviews may identify additional cases in the coming days.

In their joint news release, Dr. Henry and Health Minister Dix say there is no evidence the new COVID-19 variant is more likely to cause severe illness, or that the approved vaccines will be any less effective.

They warn the COVID-19 UK variant can spread more quickly and easily, “which is why British Columbians everywhere must continue to be cautious and follow all PHO orders and guidelines.” They urge people to stay close to home, avoid non-essential travel, practice safe, physical distancing and wear a mask when in public indoor spaces.

BC supports the Canada-wide travel ban on all flights arriving from the UK that was announced on December 20, and remains in place until January 6, 2021.

Ontario was the first province to report the new COVID-19 variant.

The province announced on Saturday that it had two confirmed cases of the COVID-19 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom.

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