Health authorities have confirmed a fifth strain of the novel coronavirus in Canada this week.
Quebec health authorities confirmed on Wednesday that the B1617 COVID-19 variant was detected in a positive case from several weeks ago.
The person was isolating at the time of infection, and has now fully recovered.
Minister Adrian Dix confirmed on Wednesday that BC has seen 39 cases of this variant.
BC health officials consider the B1617 variant a variant of interest, but not of concern.
The B1617 was first sequenced in India and is a “double mutant” variant because it possesses both the L452R and the E484Q mutations.
Most COVID-19 variants carry one mutation.
The B1617 is more infectious — affecting the virus’s spike protein, which is what the coronavirus uses to unlock our cells, but it is not more dangerous or severe.
On Wednesday, India recorded the world’s highest one day surge of COVID-19 cases. Currently, India is on the UK’s “red list” of places not to fly, due to COVID-19.
BC has had 11 flights from Delhi arrive to Vancouver International Airport since April 3rd.
The federal government is now looking to have stricter international border measures, but said it won’t restrict travel from India.
Prime Minister Trudeau said Wednesday that community transmission is still the main concern.
As of last week, the main variants of concern in BC have been the B.1.1.7 (UK), the B1.351 (South Africa), and the P1 (Brazil).
Since the beginning of March, BC has seen positive samples of variants of concern increase tenfold.
So far, there have been a total number of 6,179 confirmed variant cases in BC.
163 cases are active and the remaining people recovered.
Of that total, 4,041 cases were of the UK variant, 76 cases were of the South Africa variant, and 2,062 cases of the Brazil variant.