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Nunavut confirms first cases of COVID-19 variant first identified in U.K.

IQALUIT, Nunavut — Nunavut has confirmed its first cases of the COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Michael Patterson, the territory’s chief public health officer, says 21 swabs have come back from testing in southern Canada and are all positive for the variant known as B.1.1.7.

He says although the variant may spread more quickly than the original COVID-19 virus, the Moderna vaccine — the only vaccine available in Nunavut — is effective against it.

To date, 15,163 people in the territory of about 40,000 have received one dose of the vaccine and 12,181 have had both doses.

There are nine new cases and nine recoveries in the territory today, bringing the active case total to 47 — with 42 of those in Iqaluit.

Over the weekend, two cases were confirmed in Rankin Inlet after they travelled from Iqaluit on a Canadian North flight. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press