Whistler: Canada’s biggest ski resort closes as large cluster of P1 Brazil Covid variant confirmed

Leah Sinclair
·1-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

A Canadian ski resort has closed after an outbreak of the highly contagious P1 Covid variant first identified in Brazil.

Some 877 cases of the P1 variant have been recorded in the province of British Columbia, making it the centre of the world’s largest sequenced outbreak of the variant outside Brazil .

Nearly a quarter of those cases have been linked to The Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort.

Canada’s most famous ski resort, based in British Columbia’s Coast Mountains, was shut down at the end of March by provincial authorities after realising infections were increasing amongst the community.

On April 6, Whistler accounted for 197 cases, nearly one quarter of all of British Columbia’s P1 cases, CTV reported.

Today, British Columbia is still Canada’s P1 hotspot, reporting 974 cases as of Monday morning.

“We all kind of felt that it could happen to us,” a resort maintenance employee told the Guardian. “People just come here from everywhere—that’s kind of what makes this place what it is.”

Towards the end of last month, a “significant percentage” of Whistler’s young workforce was vaccinated, and as of Monday, all residents in Whistler are eligible for the vaccine.

However, the P1 outbreak has since spread throughout the province and into neighbouring areas including Alberta, where multiple workplace outbreaks have been reported.

So far, the province has recorded 102 infections caused by P1.

Ontario, the country’s most populated province, has 134 P1 cases.

P1, first detected in the Brazilian city of Manaus, is believed to be a highly infectious mutation of the virus that could be up to twice as transmittable as the original version and can reinfect victims.

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