Double Mutant Virus From India Detected Miles From U.S. Border

VANCOUVER SUN – A COVID-19 variant linked to record-breaking case numbers in India has been identified in B.C.

In a prepared statement, a B.C. Ministry of Health official said that 39 cases of the double mutation known as B.1.617 had been found in the province.

These cases were identified at the beginning of April but were not reported because “at the time, B.1.617 had not been identified as a variant of concern or variant under investigation,” the spokesperson said.

“B.C. was able to identify this lineage through whole genome sequencing. This is why B.C. has recently changed its surveillance strategy to ensure there is lab capacity to identify new and emerging variants.”

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has now classified B.1.617 as a “variant of interest” and its public health lab is reviewing genetic sequencing information and linking that to case details.

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The Health Ministry is expected to make more information available at the end of this week, including the number and nature of the B.1.617 cases identified so far.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the news of the variant’s arrival was “concerning” and that the B.C. government had some issues with the implementation of the federal government’s quarantine program.

“We think more can be done with respect to ensuring that the quarantine is not only enforced, but people are supported in what can be a very challenging time,” Dix said.

There have been at least 10 flights arrive in Vancouver from Delhi, India, since April 6 with COVID-infected people on board.

Quebec also reported Canada’s first cases of B.1.617 on Wednesday … Click here to read more. 

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