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Brazilian variant coronavirus P.1 outbreak closes iconic Whistler ski resort

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The famous Canadian ski resort of Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, has been ordered to close by the provincial health officer, following an increase in the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Dr Bonnie Henry announced the closure of North America’s largest ski resort at a press conference Monday afternoon, following an outbreak of the worrying variant of the P.1 (Brazilian coronavirus ) (VOC). The closure will be active from midnight Tuesday and Henry has also confirmed cases have been discovered in other communities linked to travel from the Whistler area.

The resort will remain closed until at least April 19, and people who have been in the area have been advised to watch for symptoms of Covid-19, get tested and stay home if they develop signs that ‘they could have Covid-19.

Previously, the ski resort was mostly open, with a few mitigation measures in place, including advanced reservation systems, Covid-19 security protocols, and distances to bars and restaurants. However, cases in these premises have been identified throughout the winter ski season, although the resort has remained open so far. UKTN Health has contacted Vancouver Coastal Health for details on the current VOC P.1 outbreak.

Outside of the immediate Whistler region, British Columbia is currently experiencing an increase in Covid-19 cases, as are several other parts of Canada, including the more populous provinces of Ontario and Quebec. However, British Columbia is experiencing much higher numbers of VOC P.1, with 270 cases identified on Monday, compared to just 140 on Wednesday last week.

All restaurants and bars in British Columbia will now be restricted to alfresco dining or take-out only, fitness classes and gymnasiums will be closed, as will the suspension of indoor religious services.

“This variant is not only more transmissible to humans, but it has also been shown in some parts of the world to be less suitable for the vaccine,” Henry said at today’s press conference.

The P.1 variant of the coronavirus is currently ravaging Brazil, with the health system collapsing and the country experiencing a record number of deaths from Covid-19, with 3,650 people recorded as dying from the disease in a single day – Friday latest.

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