Case of U.K. COVID-19 variant confirmed in Ottawa, province says

OTTAWA — A case of the U.K. variant of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Ottawa, according to Ontario health officials, making it the third known case in Canada.

In a press release provided to CTV News Ottawa Sunday, the identified case involves a person who tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from the United Kingdom.

It comes just a day after the first two known cases of the variant were found in Durham Region, Ont., which the province now says were in contact with a traveller from the U.K.

“In addition, since the initial reporting of the first two cases of the variant on December 26, 2020, additional investigation and follow-up case and contact management has revealed that the couple had indeed been in contact with a recent traveller from the UK, which is new information not provided in earlier interviews,” said the Ministry of Health in a press release.

“The cases and contacts have been informed and are now in self-isolation as per public health protocols.”

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Barbara Yaffe, announced the case Sunday, adding the variant has been detected in countries outside of the U.K.

“This further reinforces the need for Ontarians to stay home as much as possible and continue to follow all public health advice, including the province-wide shutdown measures,” said Yaffe. “This is also an important reminder about the need for arriving international travelers to maintain quarantine for 14 days.” 

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Ottawa Public Health says the case is the third confirmed in Ontario and the first known in Ottawa:

“The individual returned from the UK on December 19 and has been self-isolating since their return to Canada. At this time, only one high-risk contact (who lives with the individual) has been identified. Ottawa Public Health follows up directly with all individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 and their close contacts.”

OPH says it cannot disclose any additional information on the case, to protect the individual’s identity.

Canada has posted a travel ban on all flights arriving from the U.K. until Jan. 6, 2021.

This is a breaking news story. More to come.

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