COVID-19 virus variants are projected to become Quebec's most prevalent strains by early April, according to a new report by the Institut national de santé publique (INSPQ)

The report says that the B.1.1.7 variant strain, identified in the U.K., and the B.1.351 variant strain, identified in South Africa, "will soon represent more than 50% of new COVID-19 cases in Quebec."

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These variant strains are about 40% more transmissible than other strains, the report says.

According to INSPQ epidemiologist Dr. Gaston De Serres, "the increase in the number of cases of variants under enhanced surveillance means that the current level of implementation of prevention measures is insufficient to contain their transmission and control the epidemic, at least until a very large proportion of the Quebec population is vaccinated."

In the report, INSPQ says it "believes that the next few weeks will be crucial to contain the rise of COVID-19 variants in Quebec." 

There are currently more than 4,682 cases of COVID-19 variant strains in Quebec.