Canada says it will ban most passenger travel from the United Kingdom beginning midnight Sunday.
That ban will last at least 72 hours.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the news in a tweet Sunday night local time, saying it was being done to protect Canadians across the country.
In a statement, the Public Health Agency of Canada says that although more data on the Covid-19 variant is still needed, “the decision was made to suspend entry into Canada of all commercial and private passenger flights from the United Kingdom for 72 hours.”
Trudeau convened a meeting of Canada’s cabinet level ‘Incident Response Group’ Sunday afternoon to discuss the new variant of Covid-19. The ministers of health, transport, public safety, and foreign affairs were all in attendance.
What’s happening in Canada: Canada has been dealing with a surge in daily cases and a troubling increase in hospitalizations and deaths. Canada’s Public Health Agency says this second wave is now worse than the first with cases and hospitalizations continuing to outpace the first wave’s peak.
The province of Quebec said it would begin a lockdown Christmas Day after targeted lockdowns and restrictions failed to curb rising case counts.
Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, is also considering a full lockdown after targeted closures failed to bring down infection rates in Toronto and its suburbs.
Canada has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and started distribution a week ago. Public health officials say they will be begin distributing the Moderna vaccine as soon as it is approved. Health Canada, the national regulator, said it continues to review Moderna’s data and approval is expected within days.
Canada has reported more than 511,000 coronavirus cases and more than 14,000 deaths.