COVID variant from India already spreading in Brampton, sources say


Published April 24, 2021 at 7:00 pm


Cases of the new variant of COVID-19 born in India have appeared in Brampton, according to unconfirmed reports.

Two sources in the healthcare industry with knowledge of the situation say the cases have been showing up during the past few days as results from earlier testing come in.

On Friday the Ontario government confirmed there are at least 36 cases of the B.1.617 — or India variant — in the province. No deaths have been attributed to the variant.

Premier Doug Ford called the news about the Ontario cases “extremely troubling” and said he has been advocating for tougher border restrictions to avoid this exact situation.

At this time, it’s unknown whether the variant is more infectious or more resistant to vaccines, and more research is currently being done on the variant.

A source told on Saturday that Brampton has been expected to be a landing spot considering the demographic of the city.

“It’s no secret Brampton has a very large South Asian population and unfortunately members of this community have travelled back home to visit relatives and look after business,” said one of the sources. “Members of my own extended family have traveled against all advice not to. It’s unfortunate that it has happened and it continues to happen.”

The federal government has confirmed that more than 100 flights landing in Canada the past two weeks have brought in passengers with COVID-19. More than 30 of these flights have been from India.

Speaking today on CP24, Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel Region’s Medical Officer of Health said he has not yet been told by provincial authorities if any of the people carrying the India variant are from Brampton or other parts of Peel Region.

Ontario health officials could not be reached for comment.

However, another source revealed the Ontario government has the data but has not yet released the information.

“The variant, it’s here,” the second source said referring to Brampton. The source speculated that the recent spike in new cases could be caused by the arrival of the variant. “That’s just a guess, but if you are playing detective and looking at what has been happening in India is recent days, it’s hard not to make the connection considering how many people have been traveling back and forth between the two countries. That may not be a scientific approach, but when you work in this field you also have to use common sense to reach conclusions.”

After an increasing amount of pressure to do so, the federal government announced on Friday that it is banning all flights from India into Canada for the next 30 days and is considering other measures.

Critics of the federal plan say it has come too late as the new variant is already here and that airlines already provide work-arounds were people can still arrive from India by booking connecting flights in other countries.





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