By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

Public Health Agency of Canada is reporting two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ontario of the variant observed in the United Kingdom.

The National Microbiology Laboratory monitors Canadian cases of COVID-19 with the provinces and territories through ongoing analysis of genomic databases in Canada.

Image/craigclark

As the monitoring continues, it is expected that other cases of this variant and other variants of concern may be found in Canada. Furthermore, as these two cases did not travel outside of Canada, it is important to follow public health measures and limit contacts with others, to reduce the transmission of the virus and any of its variants in communities. The best way to prevent infection with any variant of COVID-19 is to follow public health measures.

To reduce the risk of importation of the virus and any of its variants, Canada has had travel restrictions and border measures in place since March 2020, including mandatory quarantine. These rigorous quarantine measures are among some of the strongest in the world. Under 2% of all cases reported in Canada are from those who travelled outside of Canada.

All travellers must present their quarantine plan to the Quarantine Officer at the point of entry to Canada, and those with an inadequate plan are directed to a federal quarantine facility. PHAC monitors travellers’ compliance with quarantine and uses law enforcement officers to verify compliance during the 14-day quarantine. Individuals who are not complying with the quarantine requirements can face fines of up to $750,000 or six months in prison.

On December 20, in response to concerns about the UK COVID-19 variant, the Government of Canada also suspended all flights from the United Kingdom for 72 hours, subsequently extended until January 6, at 11:59pm. Travellers are since being asked additional health screening questions to help identify if their travel itinerary included a country of concern reporting this variant in the last 14 days prior to appearing at a Canadian port of entry.