India — A variant of the coronavirus may have become the principal source of fresh Covid-19 infections in some parts of Canada even as the country continues to report record daily increases in cases.
Canada’s chief public health officer Dr Theresa Tam said the B1.1.7 variant, which originated in the United Kingdom “is now confirmed in all provinces and two territories” and “continues to account for the majority of variants of concern in Canada and has likely replaced the original virus in some areas”.
She noted that as of Thursday, the country had 24,995 cases linked to different variants, with the vast majority, 23,611 of the B1.1.7 one. That has contributed to record daily increase in cases, which also led to Canada overtaking the United States in terms of numbers reported per million.
Canada recorded 1,052,539 cases, an increase of 7,262, just a day after it breached the daily caseload mark of 9,000 for the first time on Friday, with 9,255 new infections.
Other variants also continue to concern Canadian health authorities, particularly those originating in Brazil.
Tam noted that “there has been a concerning rise in P.1 cases in recent weeks. Early evidence suggests that the P.1 variant may reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, “making it even more important to control its spread”.
She said, “This clearly shows that we need stronger control to combat variants of concern that are driving rapid epidemic growth in many areas of the country, even as vaccine supply and programmes continue to accelerate.” Canada has secured nearly 10.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines while about 7.5 million have been administered.
According to Global News, which sources information from the website Our World In Data, on Friday the seven-day rolling average of new cases per million in Canada was 205.73, higher than the United States, which was at 205.12. In comparison, even with a steep increase in daily cases, the figure for India was at 84.23.