The number of known cases of COVID-19 variants in British Columbia climbed again on Friday.
Health officials said they had confirmed six cases of the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7), and three cases of the South African variant (B.1.351).
Both variants are believed to be more contagious, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday new evidence had emerged to suggest the U.K. variant is also more deadly.
B.C. discovered its first case of the U.K. variant in late December, and announced the first case of the South African variant last week.
The BC CDC said four cases of the U.K. variant were related to travel, and the additional two were related to close contacts of the initial patients.
None of the three people diagnosed with the South African variant, however, had reported travel outside the country.
“Those are concerning, if we start to see rapid increase again — there’s that potential for that with these variants,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Friday.
“We all have to be really careful right now to reduce the risk of transmission, to stop those chains of transmission.”
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Teresa Tam said Friday that the National Microbiology Laboratory had confirmed 31 cases of the U.K. variant nationally, and three of the South African variant.
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