January 15th, 2021

South African variant of COVID-19 found in Alberta


By The Canadian Press on January 8, 2021.

A health-care worker riding an escalator watches Ontario Premier Doug Ford speak to the media at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A new variant of COVID-19 that first surfaced in South Africa has been found in Alberta.

The province’s chief medical health officer made the announcement in a tweet.

Dr. Denna Hinshaw says the person is believed to have contracted the illness while travelling and is in quarantine.

She says there is no evidence that the new variant has spread to the community.

The case could be a first in Canada.

Federal officials had said as late as Tuesday that the new variant had yet to be detected in the country.

A spokesperson with the Public Health Agency of Canada said in an email that all of the agency’s experts are enjoying a “well-deserved weekend” and they would look into the matter on Monday.

The South African variant is more infectious than the original COVID-19 virus and has rapidly become dominant in that country’s coastal areas.

Experts in the United Kingdom have said they worry that vaccines may not be effective against it.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 8, 2021

– With files from The Associated Press.

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