Travellers arriving in Alberta from UK ‘should immediately get tested for COVID-19’

The Alberta government is “strongly encouraging” all travellers who arrived from the United Kingdom within the past 14 days to immediately book a COVID-19 test.

Read more: U.K. to hold emergency meeting over new coronavirus mutations, travel restrictions

In a news release Monday, the province said testing should be done whether or not individuals have symptoms.

Travellers will be contacted directly by Alberta Health Services to book a test.

People who travelled from the U.K. who are taking part in the border pilot must immediately quarantine, whether or not they’ve had a negative test result.

“A variant of COVID-19 has been identified in the United Kingdom with mutations that may cause increased infectivity,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.

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“No variants with all the same mutations have been identified in Canada to date. Changes in a virus are to be expected, and there is no current evidence that this variant causes more severe disease.

“Alberta’s current public health measures are effective against it, but we are acting out of an abundance of caution.”

Click to play video 'COVID-19: UK facing travel bans to limit spread of ​variant' COVID-19: UK facing travel bans to limit spread of ​variant

COVID-19: UK facing travel bans to limit spread of ​variant

The federal government stopped all flights to Canada from the U.K. effective midnight on Dec. 20 for 72 hours.

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The policy applies to all commercial and private passenger flights.

Read more: Canada to suspend all flights from U.K. for 72 hours as new coronavirus variant spreads

“The nature of this pandemic requires us to be nimble and adapt to the evolving situation to ensure the health and safety of Albertans,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said.

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“Alberta Health Services will be reaching out to all recent travellers from the United Kingdom to book a test. Also, if you are currently participating in the border pilot, you must immediately quarantine.”

Read more: ‘Good news’: Coronavirus vaccine will still protect against new U.K. variant, WHO says

Health rules remain in place for international travel.

All non-exempt travellers returning to or entering Alberta from outside Canada are legally required to follow provincial and federal restrictions when they arrive.

Travellers must quarantine for 14 days, monitor for symptoms and get tested if any symptom develops.

Click to play video 'COVID-19 travel pilot program to reduce 2-week quarantine time being tested in Alberta' COVID-19 travel pilot program to reduce 2-week quarantine time being tested in Alberta

COVID-19 travel pilot program to reduce 2-week quarantine time being tested in Alberta – Oct 22, 2020

“Due to the new federal restrictions on incoming flights from the United Kingdom, if you have been in the United Kingdom and are currently participating in the border pilot, you must now quarantine until 14 days have passed from your arrival,” the Alberta government said in a news release.

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“If you are just arriving in Alberta and have been in the United Kingdom in the last 14 days, you must quarantine and cannot participate in the border pilot.”

READ MORE: Several European countries ban travel from U.K. as new coronavirus strain spreads

The new variant of the novel coronavirus has been spreading quickly across the United Kingdom, prompting travel bans from several European countries on Sunday.

It was first reported by the British government in London, England on Monday, inciting tighter lockdown restrictions throughout the city.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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