Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam looks at a giant screen showing data during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada Friday January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam looks at a giant screen showing data during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada Friday January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Canada’s top doctor says variants threatening country’s progress made against COVID-19

There have been nearly 4,500 variant cases of COVID-19 in Canada, 90% related to U.K. variant

Canada’s top doctor says there’s concern that an increase in more transmissible variants of the COVID-19 virus may be threatening the country’s progress in containing the spread of infections.

Dr. Theresa Tam said Friday that there have been nearly 4,500 variant cases of COVID-19 in Canada, with 90 per cent of those related to the variant first detected in the U.K.

With Easter two weeks away, celebrations will have to again be modified this year as Tam said the holiday is “not the time to be having big gatherings.”

Tam says the more transmissible variants are “threatening the country’s progress before vaccines can bring full benefits.”

She added that in parts of Canada, variants of concern are making up a higher proportion of all new cases.

To date, over 922,000 cases of COVID-19, including more than 22,500 deaths have been reported across Canada.