(Stock photo)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has extended travel ban from the United Kingdom to two weeks, in an announcement Wednesday morning.

All flights from the UK to Canada were initially suspended on Sunday, and the measure was supposed to last for 72 hours.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Trudeau extended the ban to January 6, 2021.

“The situation is very serious,” the Prime Minister said, urging Canadians to stay home and follow public health rules.

“If you’ve arrived from the UK recently, the Government of Canada has been in the process of reaching out with more directions.”

The travel ban was instated in response to the reported spread of a mutated strain of COVID-19 found in the UK.

This new strain, which BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Monday contains 17 different mutations, is reportedly more infectious than others.

However experts do not believe it causes a more severe illness, and existing vaccines are believed to be effective against this new strain as well.

As of December 23, Canada is one of 43 countries that have imposed bans on flights from the UK.