Canada sees surging contagious COVID-19 variants


People walk with face masks in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 11, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

OTTAWA - COVID-19 variants are spreading quickly across Canada as some provinces have eased restrictions after cases began to fall last month.

A total of 4,086 "variants of concern" cases have been reported across Canada as of Wednesday, with an increase of 468 new cases of this kind since Monday, the Public Health Agency of Canada tweeted.

The "variants of concern", which are mutated strains of COVID-19 that act differently in ways that are significant to public health, according to the agency, now include 3,777 B.1.1.7 variants, 238 B.1.351 variants, and 71 P.1 variants, show the latest figures.

Some 1,131 and 1,028 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant were reported in Ontario and Alberta, respectively, while British Columbia confirmed 921 cases of this variant which is believed to be 35 percent to 40 percent more contagious.

Meanwhile, the country reported a total of 918,262 cases and 22,546 deaths.

Theresa Tam, Canadian chief public health officer, said Wednesday that average daily case counts are now on the rise, noting that national data show a seven-day average of 3,194 new cases starting March 10 and currently there are 31,517 active cases across the country.

Maintaining public health measures and individual precautions is crucial to reducing infection rates, and avoiding a rapid resurge and its severe outcomes, Tam tweeted.

Variant cases have already exceeded 50 percent of all cases in Ontario, Peter Juni, scientific director of the province's COVID-19 advisory panel, told Canadian television network CTV News on Wednesday. "It's skyrocketing at the moment," he said.

"There's no doubt that we're entering the third wave," Tasleem Nimjee, physician lead of COVID-19 emergency response and head of medical innovation at Humber River Hospital in Toronto, told CTV.

"Let's move with vaccination as fast as we can because we are in a race here," Doris Grinspun, head of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, told the news channel.

"Daily counts came down, but we had increasing rates of growth especially driven by variants, primarily the variant" first detected in Britain, Grinspun said. "So, people need to keep that guard up."

The experts said it is time to take strict measures, considering Canadians had relaxed quite a bit after case numbers fell in early January.

"We haven't had stringent public health measures, and we haven't restricted movements even between one another," said Grinspun. "By the time they wake up it will be too late. We will have lost many, many more people."

2021年3月11日,加拿大安大略省多伦多市,人们戴着口罩行走。[图片/机构]上个月病例开始下降后,随着一些省份放松限制,新冠肺炎变种病毒正在加拿大迅速传播。加拿大公共卫生局在推特上说,截至周三,加拿大各地共报告了4086例“令人担忧的变异”病例,自周一以来,这类新病例增加了468例。根据该机构的最新数据,这些“令人担忧的变异体”是新冠肺炎的变异株,其作用方式不同,对公共健康至关重要,目前包括3777个变异体、238个变异体和71个P1变异体。安大略省和艾伯塔省分别报告了约1,131例和1,028例乙型1.1.7变异体,而不列颠哥伦比亚省确认了921例这种变异体,据信其传染性高35%至40%。与此同时,该国共报告了918,262例病例和22,546例死亡。加拿大首席公共卫生官特里萨·塔姆(Theresa Tam)周三表示,目前每日平均病例数正在上升,并指出,国家数据显示,从3月10日开始,7天内平均有3194例新病例,目前全国有31517例活跃病例。Tam在推特上说,保持公共卫生措施和个人预防措施对于降低感染率、避免快速复发及其严重后果至关重要。安大略省新冠肺炎咨询小组的科学主任彼得·由尼周三告诉加拿大电视网CTV新闻,变异病例已经超过安大略省所有病例的50%。“目前它正在飞速发展,”他说。“毫无疑问,我们正在进入第三波,”新冠肺炎急救中心主任医师、多伦多亨伯河医院医疗创新负责人塔斯琳·尼姆吉告诉CTV。安大略注册护士协会的负责人多丽丝·格林斯珀告诉新闻频道,“让我们尽快接种疫苗,因为我们在这里是在赛跑。”。格林斯普特说:“每天的数量都在下降,但我们的增长率却在上升,尤其是由变异体驱动的,主要是在英国首次发现的变异体。”。“所以,人们需要保持警惕。”专家们表示,现在是采取严格措施的时候了,因为在1月初病例数量下降后,加拿大人已经放松了不少。格林斯普特说:“我们没有严格的公共卫生措施,甚至没有限制彼此之间的行动。”。“等他们醒来的时候,已经太晚了。我们将失去更多的人。”

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