The Alberta government is “strongly encouraging” all travellers who arrived from the United Kingdom within the past 14 days to immediately book a COVID-19 test.
In a news release Monday, the province said testing should be done whether or not individuals have symptoms.
Travellers will be contacted directly by Alberta Health Services to book a test.
People who travelled from the U.K. who are taking part in the border pilot must immediately quarantine, whether or not they’ve had a negative test result.
“A variant of COVID-19 has been identified in the United Kingdom with mutations that may cause increased infectivity,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.
“No variants with all the same mutations have been identified in Canada to date. Changes in a virus are to be expected, and there is no current evidence that this variant causes more severe disease.
“Alberta’s current public health measures are effective against it, but we are acting out of an abundance of caution.”
The federal government stopped all flights to Canada from the U.K. effective midnight on Dec. 20 for 72 hours.
The policy applies to all commercial and private passenger flights.
“The nature of this pandemic requires us to be nimble and adapt to the evolving situation to ensure the health and safety of Albertans,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said.
“Alberta Health Services will be reaching out to all recent travellers from the United Kingdom to book a test. Also, if you are currently participating in the border pilot, you must immediately quarantine.”
Health rules remain in place for international travel.
All non-exempt travellers returning to or entering Alberta from outside Canada are legally required to follow provincial and federal restrictions when they arrive.
Travellers must quarantine for 14 days, monitor for symptoms and get tested if any symptom develops.
“Due to the new federal restrictions on incoming flights from the United Kingdom, if you have been in the United Kingdom and are currently participating in the border pilot, you must now quarantine until 14 days have passed from your arrival,” the Alberta government said in a news release.
“If you are just arriving in Alberta and have been in the United Kingdom in the last 14 days, you must quarantine and cannot participate in the border pilot.”
The new variant of the novel coronavirus has been spreading quickly across the United Kingdom, prompting travel bans from several European countries on Sunday.
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