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U.K. extends travel ban to Canada into January

An empty Air Canada check-in counter is seen at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Air Canada says it will cancel all flights to the U.S. after Ottawa extended its border closure with the United States by 30 days. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

The United Kingdom federal government is extending its travel ban by two weeks as part of its effort to prevent a new variant of the novel coronavirus from spreading to Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Wednesday that passenger flights from the U.K. to Canada would be temporarily suspended until Jan. 6th 2020 and that the government was in the process of contacting those who arrived from the U.K. recently with more directions.

All commercial and private passenger flights from the U.K. were initially suspended for 72 hours on Monday after a new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 was identified in that country.

This new variant is causing some concern due to early signs suggesting it is significantly more transmissible than other strains, though no indication it is more deadly.

Canada is among dozens of countries that quickly implemented restrictions, a move that disrupted holiday travel plans and left many travellers stranded.

There have been no recorded cases yet in Canada of this variant. Viruses naturally evolve as they move through the population and there have been thousands of new mutations of the coronavirus since almost the beginning.

Most of the time, the changes do not impact how infectious it is or how sick people get, but this new variant appeared to be spreading quickly through the population, and is the cause of nearly 60 per cent of recent infections in London, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Written by Victor Ekong

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