Hundreds of travellers to Canada test positive for COVID-19 variants

More than 2,000 people returning to Canada since mandatory hotel quarantines began have tested positive for COVID-19 — and more than a quarter of them were infected with a variant of concern.

The data supplied to The Canadian Press by the Public Health Agency of Canada come as the federal government is being pressured to take more steps to keep new variants from getting into the country.

Data show that between Feb. 22 and April 11, 2,018 returning travellers tested positive on a test taken when they arrived in the country.

The agency says that is about one per cent of arrivals.

Other data show that as of April 22, 557 people had tested positive for a variant of concern — including 518 people with the strain first identified in the United Kingdom, 27 with the variant first detected in South Africa and 12 with the strain first found in Brazil.

Nazeem Muhajarine, a professor of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan, says border restrictions are necessary but will only work well if complemented by local rules and enough testing and tracing to keep cases from spreading.

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