Health experts in Canada have warned of a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic after variants of the virus were reported across nine provinces.
As of February 13, Canada reported 429 cases of the UK B.1.1.7 variant, 28 cases of the South African B.1.351 variant, and one of the P.1 Brazilian strain, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Although it is normal for variants to emerge as viruses continuously evolve, some variants are considered ‘variants of concern’ because they spread more easily, some may cause more severe illness, or current vaccines may be less effective against them,” Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said in a statement on Saturday.
“This is why we need to maintain the strictest vigilance in our public health measures and individual practices. This will help to prevent these variants from re-accelerating the epidemic and making it much more difficult to control,” Tam added.
Canada has so far reported a total of 823,048 Covid-19 cases and 21,213 deaths.
Ontario confirmed 1,300 new cases and 19 more deaths on Saturday.
The province’s seven-day average for the number of cases recorded is now 1,167, down from 1,479 one week ago.
Saturday’s case count brings the total number of lab-confirmed cases in Ontario to 284,887, including deaths and recoveries.
A total of 164,307 people in Ontario have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and are now fully vaccinated against the disease.
Meanwhile, Quebec reported 1,049 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases to 275,880.
The province also confirmed 33 additional deaths, raising fatalities to 10,201.
To date, 290,953 doses of vaccine have been administered in the province.