Expert Believes The UK’s New Strain Of COVID-19 May Already Be In Canada

"These last two weeks of 2020 may be the most critical period of the pandemic."
The UK's New COVID-19 Strain May Already Be In Canada, Says Toronto Expert

On Sunday, Canada announced a 72-hour travel ban for the United Kingdom in an attempt to curb transmission of a new COVID-19 strain.

However, Dr. Kerry Bowman, professor of bioethics and global health at the University of Toronto, told Narcity that the new variant may have already made its way to Canada.

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We've got regular flights coming in from both Britain and Europe, so it may already be here. Dr. Kerry Bowman

"It’s been circulating heavily in Britain," he said, in addition to the fact that there is "plenty of travel within Britain" and throughout the European Union.

Bowman believes that the decision to shut down flights from the U.K. should have happened days earlier.

Dr. Colin Furness, assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, says he's surprised we're still permitted to travel at all. 

"We shouldn’t be permitting any travel at all at this time," he explained to Narcity. "[But] beyond blocking travel, there isn’t much to do."

He explained the emerging strain may be more contagious, saying: "To be clear, we don’t know that it’s more transmissible, it’s a belief based on rapid proliferation."

According to the Huffington Post, analysis from the United Kingdom suggests that the new strain "may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the old variant." 

“Our government will continue to do what’s necessary to protect the health of Canadians," assured Patty Hajdu, Canada's Minister of Health.

According to Bowman, "these last weeks of 2020 may be the most critical period of the pandemic."

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