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Canada records 1st cases of new coronavirus variant

Health officials say the new COVID-19 variant cases in Canada involve a couple near Toronto, with no known travel history, exposure or high-risk contacts.

Officials in Canada's most populous province have confirmed the first two known Canadian cases of of a more contagious variant of COVID-19 that was first identified in the United Kingdom.

The province’s associate chief medical officer says that the cases are a couple from Durham Region, just east of Toronto, with no known travel history, exposure or high-risk contacts.

The new variant is believed to spread more easily and faster than the original version of the disease but is not believed to be more deadly.

The provincial government said in a news release that there is no evidence to suggest that the vaccines approved by Health Canada will be any less effective against the new variant. The variant was first identified in the United Kingdom but has since been detected in several other countries, including Denmark, France, Belgium, Australia and the Netherlands.

As of Saturday, there were more than 80 million confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world. 

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Credit: AP
People walk through the snow in the village of Blue Mountain Ski Resort in The Blue Mountains, Ontario, on the first day of a provincial lockdown amid a 12-day trend of over 2,000 daily COVID-19 cases, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press via AP)