Ontario has identified three new cases of the COVID-19 variant first discovered in the U.K. that is notorious for being more contagious.
Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Barbara Yaffe confirmed the new cases on Monday during a press conference at Queen’s Park.
“We have an additional three cases to report, bringing Ontario’s total to six,” Yaffe said “All three of the new cases have travelled or have had close contact with someone who travelled outside of the country.”
Of the new cases, Yaffe said the first was found in a resident of York Region, who recently travelled to the U.K.. The second case is in a resident of Peel Region with no personal travel history but has a close contact who recently travelled to Dubai.
Health officials are now testing the person who travelled to Dubai to confirm if that resident also has the COVID-19 variant.
The third case is a resident of Toronto, who also recently travelled to the U.K.
“I do want to take this opportunity to remind Ontarians to travel only if absolutely necessary,” Yaffe said. “I can’t emphasize how important this is. COVID-19 does not know borders.”
The first cases of the COVID-19 variant found in Ontario were announced on Boxing Day.
The province says the variant can spread “easier and faster,” but that there is no evidence to suggest that it is more likely to cause severe illness.
The variant has also been detected in other countries around the world, including Denmark, Japan, Israel and Sweden.
Last month, federal government announced that passenger flights from the U.K. to Canada would be temporarily suspended to curb the spread of the new variant. That suspension is slated to last until at least Jan. 6.