Passengers wait for their luggage to be checked in at Montreal-Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, Canada on December 19. Graham Hughes / The Canadian Press / AP

Canada says it will ban most passenger travel from the UK from midnight Sunday.

This ban will last at least 72 hours.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the news in a tweet on Sunday evening local time, saying it would be done to protect Canadians across the country.

A statement from the Canadian Health Department said that while more data is needed on the Covid-19 variant, “the decision has been made to suspend entry to Canada for all commercial and private passenger flights from the UK to Canada for 72 hours. ”

Trudeau called a meeting of the Canadian “Incident Response Group” at cabinet level on Sunday afternoon to discuss the new variant of Covid-19. The Ministers for Health, Transport, Public Safety and Foreign Affairs were all present.

What is happening in Canada: Canada is grappling with an increase in daily cases and a worrying increase in hospital stays and deaths. Canada’s Public Health Agency says this second wave is now worse than the first as cases and hospitalizations continue to peak from the first wave.

Quebec Province said it would start a lockdown on Christmas Day after targeted lockdowns and restrictions failed to contain the rising case numbers.

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, is also considering a full lockdown after targeted closings failed to reduce infection rates in Toronto and its suburbs.

Canada approved the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and started marketing it a week ago. Public health officials say they will start distributing the Moderna vaccine as soon as it is approved. Health Canada, the national regulator, said it is continuing to review Moderna’s data and is expected to approve it within days.

Canada has reported more than 511,000 coronavirus cases and more than 14,000 deaths.

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