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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The Vancouver Canucks said 25 players and coaches have tested positive in a COVID-19 outbreak involving a variant of the virus.

The team said Wednesday that 21 players, including three from the taxi squad, and four members of the coaching staff have tested positive, and one other player is considered a close contact.

“This is a stark reminder of how quickly the virus can spread and its serious impact, even among healthy, young athletes,” the team said in a statement.

All players and staff are in quarantine, and 19 of the 22 players on Vancouver’s active roster were listed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list Wednesday.

The Canucks say the team has confirmed that a variant is involved in the outbreak, and full genome sequencing is being conducted by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control to determine which specific variant.

They said an ongoing investigation by Vancouver Coastal Health and contract tracing found that the outbreak was sparked by a single unidentified individual picking up the infection in a “community setting, which has since been identified by public health as a public exposure location.”

The Canucks’ outbreak began March 30 when forward Adam Gaudette tested positive. The NHL postponed Vancouver’s game against the Calgary Flames the following night when defenseman Travis Hamonic and a member of the coaching staff were added to the NHL’s COVID protocol list. A total of six Canucks games have now been postponed.

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UK records second lowest daily Covid deaths since start of September as 10 people die and another 1,882 test positive

CORONAVIRUS deaths have today risen by ten - the second lowest daily toll since September.

The rise brings the total number of fatalities to 127,270, while a further 1,882 people tested positive for the bug.

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2Coronavirus cases have fallen in the past few weeks as a result of lockdown (File picture)Credit: PA

Today’s rise in fatalities is a slightly increase on last Sunday’s figure of seven, and the same as the 10 deaths recorded a fortnight ago.

It is also the second-lowest death toll since September 13 last year, when five fatalities were reported.

Cases are also up slightly on last Sunday’s figure of 1,730 - but below the 2,293 infections reported on April 4. 

The rise in infections means that a total of 4,387,820 people have now caught the virus.

It comes as:

  • UK cases of the Indian variant have doubled in a week amid fears it could 'scupper' the lockdown roadmap
  • A government minister said there is 'no evidence' that the Indian strain can evade vaccines
  • Just eight countries will be on the green list for travel from May 17, sources have claimed
  • Britain is 'on track' to further ease restrictions next month after making 'positive progress' during lockdown
  • Brits flocked to car boot sales as the mercury soared to 17C on the first weekend after Covid rules were eased

No fatalities were reported in Northern Ireland and Scotland, while Wales recorded three further deaths. 

Meanwhile, another 139,445 Brits received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine yesterday. Over 32 million people have now received their first shot.

And a further 499,635 second doses were given - bringing the total to 9,930,846.

2

Today’s figures come amid growing concern over the spread of the Indian variant of coronavirus, with Public Health England confirming 77 cases of the strain.

Environment Secretary George Eustice defended the Government's decision not to further restrict travel to the country, but said the situation is being kept “under regular review”. 

Experts have previously warned that the strain could “scupper” Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown were it allowed to become dominant. 

But Mr Eustice said there was “no evidence at the moment” that the strain could evade vaccines or that it is more contagious. 

Mr Eustice also said that despite rising infection rates in India, "it is appropriate" that the Prime Minister's planned trip to the country should go ahead later this month.

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Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser for NHS Test and Trace, added that whilst there is not yet enough data to officially classify the new Indian strain as a "variant of concern", investigations are ongoing.

"We have seen a couple of cases (of the Indian variant) that haven't arisen from travel but we're still trying to undergo the investigations to look in great detail at where they might have acquired it from.

"To escalate it up the ranking we need to know that it is increased transmissibility, increased severity or vaccine evading, and we just don't have that yet," she told the BBC.

Indian Covid-19 variant detected in UK as 77 cases ‘under investigation’

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