The Government of Canada has dedicated a page for up-to-date information regarding COVID-19. Please click the link below for more information.
How Canada is monitoring COVID-19
The Public Health Agency of Canada is working with provinces, territories and international partners, including the World Health Organization, to actively monitor the situation. Global efforts are focused on containment of the outbreak and the prevention of further spread.
Canada's Chief Public Health Officer of Canada is in close contact with provincial and territorial Chief Medical Officers of Health to ensure that any cases of COVID-19 occurring in Canada continue to be rapidly identified and managed in order to protect the health of Canadians.
Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory is performing diagnostic testing for the virus that causes COVID-19. The laboratory is working in close collaboration with provincial and territorial public health laboratories, which are now able to test for COVID-19.
For more information, visit the daily epidemiology update.
Genetic variations of viruses, such as the one that causes COVID-19, are common and expected.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will naturally develop mutations, which are changes to the genetic material in the virus over time.
When there have been several significant mutations to the virus then it’s called a variant. A variant is of concern when it affects:
- disease spread
- disease severity
- tests used to detect the virus
- vaccines and treatments
Monitoring the variants
The Public Health Agency of Canada works with the provinces and territories, and other partners to monitor and identify variants of concern in Canada. We’re following the first identified variants in the United Kingdom (B. 1.1.7 variant), South Africa (B.1.351 variant) and Brazil (P.1 variant). Monitoring for genetic changes in the virus allows us to understand better the potential impact of the mutations.
About the new variants
These new variants of concern include mutations that seem to make the virus more infectious, allowing it to spread more easily. They may also affect the severity of the disease.
At this time, there’s evidence that some variants may have an impact on certain drugs and vaccines. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.
The variants don’t currently affect diagnosis through authorized laboratory tests.
Given the limited data on the new variants, more research is needed to confirm these early findings. The Canadian and global medical, public health and research communities are actively evaluating these variants and other significant mutations.
We’ve put in place additional emergency measures to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada. Restrictions may change with little notice as the situation evolves. Refer to the latest travel restrictions in Canada.
If you're looking for information on COVID-19, specific to your province, refer to our provincial and territorial resources page.
If you have additional questions that aren't answered on our website, contact the Public Health Agency of Canada.