The first two cases of a particularly infectious coronavirus variant that recently emerged in Britain have been confirmed in Canada, health authorities said Saturday.
“The cases are a couple from Durham with no known travel history, exposure or high-risk contacts,” the acting chief medical officer for Ontario said in a statement.
The couple have been placed in isolation, according to the statement, the same day that Ontario reimposed a lockdown for several weeks due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Elsewhere, infections linked to people who arrived from the UK were reported in Spain, Switzerland, Sweden and France.
Japan is to ban most non-resident foreign nationals from entering the country for a month from Monday.
Under the travel suspension, Japanese nationals and non-Japanese residents who are abroad will be allowed to return, and some travellers such as businesspeople will be allowed to enter from a small number of mainly Asian countries.
Since reporting infections in five passengers who had all arrived from the UK, the country has confirmed two more cases, one of which is said to have been domestically transmitted.
News of the new variant triggered travel restrictions around the world last week.
Meanwhile, several EU countries have started to vaccinate people against the virus ahead of a co-ordinated rollout across the whole bloc on Sunday.
Health workers in north-east Germany said they were not prepared to wait another day to distribute the newly approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. They began by immunising elderly residents of a nursing home in Halberstadt.
In Hungary, the state news agency said the first recipient of the vaccine was a doctor at Del-Pest Central Hospital. The authorities in Slovakia also said they had begun vaccinating.
The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has released a video on Twitter celebrating the vaccine rollout, calling it a “touching moment of unity.