Ontario reports its first case of the South African COVID-19 variant in a person with no travel history. Though the country has already witnessed 6 cases of this variant in Alberta and 4 cases in British Columbia infected individuals contracted viruses either during or after travel. What’s concerning is that this is the first time doctors identified a new COVID 19 strain in a person with no travel history and investigations indicate that the man could have acquired it through the community.
Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, also endorsed the news communicating that the COVID 19 variant named B.1.351 had been detected in a resident of the peel region. “the public health in Peel are continuing to investigate it, and are performing appropriate case and contact management,” William said.
The confirmation of the new variants stirred serious apprehensions among the health officials as the country has already surpassed more than 784,000 COVID-19 cases with a death toll reaching up to 20,136 deaths.
At the same time, the region already reported 69 cases of UK variant named B.1.1.7, with the total cases reaching 1,969 by Monday. In this situation, the emergence of a new variant is alarming as it is considered to be more contagious compared to the existing strain.
According to Canadian health officials, this highly transmissible South African variant is anticipated to spread quicker than the existing strain. However, health officials are still not sure about the severity of illness caused by B.1.351.
“In terms of transmissibility, data from South Africa indicates this variant quickly displaces other circulating strains in that country, and it appears to have a higher viral load, suggesting that I may be more transmissible,” Williams said.
The new COVID 19 strain was first detected in South Africa in October 2020. Since the time, the virus has spread swiftly, encompassing more than 22 countries. Considering the potential risks of the outburst of a new wave in the country, the government has urged people to stick to precautionary measures in order to break the virus’s transmission chain successfully.