FREDERICTON, N.B. -- New Brunswick health believes a fourth case of the COVID-19 variant that was first reported in the United Kingdom has been detected in the province.

“A close contact of a previous U.K. variant confirmed case has tested positive for COVID-19 and is it suspected they have the variant as well,” said Bruce Macfarlane, spokesperson for N.B. Health. “A sample for sequencing is being sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory for confirmation. In the meantime, the individual is being treated as if they have the variant.”

On Tuesday, the first three cases of the U.K. variant in New Brunswick were confirmed by Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health.

Two of those cases were confirmed in the Saint John area (Zone 2), and one case in the Miramichi area (Zone 7). N.B. Health did not identify where the latest variant case is located.

Russell said Tuesday that two of the cases were related to international travel and the other is related to travel within Canada.

“The message today really is avoiding travel. If you are planning a vacation, it is a very risky time to travel," said Russell during a news update on Tuesday. "The (UK) variant is present in 30 countries around the world right now, and the UK variant is present in, I think four provinces right now, if not five."

On Jan. 22, Nova Scotia reported that two cases that were identified in December were confirmed to be variant strains – one from U.K. and one from South Africa. Both cases are considered recovered and were related to travel outside of Canada.

Further information about COVID-19 variants is available online.