B.C. identifies first COVID-19 case infected with the U.K. variant

British Columbia health authorities confirmed on Sunday the first known case of a resident infected with a variant of the COVID-19 virus first identified in the United Kingdom.

The individual, who lives in the Island Health region, returned from the U.K. on Air Canada Flight AC855 on Dec. 15.

The person developed symptoms while in a mandatory 14-day quarantine and was subsequently tested. The positive diagnosis was confirmed on Dec. 19. 

The U.K. variant, which has also been identified in three people in Ontario, may be more transmissible than other forms of the coronavirus circling the globe.

“It is important to note there is no evidence that the new COVID-19 variant is more likely to cause severe illness, nor is there evidence to suggest the Health Canada-approved vaccines will be any less effective against the new variant,” according to a joint statement from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Close contacts with the person have been isolated, and Public Health says it is following up with them daily.

More to come

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