1st COVID-19 cases of variants detected in Brazil and South Africa found in Toronto

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Toronto Public Health says it has identified the first COVID-19 cases linked to variants first detected in Brazil and South Africa in city residents.

One Toronto resident has tested positive for the P.1 COVID-19 mutation, known as the variant of concern first detected in Brazil, while another Toronto resident has tested positive for the B.1.351 mutation, known as the variant of concern first detected in South Africa, according to Toronto Public Health (TPH).

In the first case, the person is in hospital after recently travelling from Brazil. In the second case, the person has no recent history of travel and has had no known contact with anyone who has been travelling and has returned to Toronto.

As of Saturday, TPH reported that the city has 27 confirmed cases involving variants of concern.

TPH said it is investigating and managing the cases.

"Scientists and medical professionals are concerned that these variants are more transmissible than the original coronavirus," TPH said in a news release on Sunday.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research is underway to find out more about the variants in a bid to understand their transmission and the effectiveness of vaccines against them.