WINNIPEG -- Manitoba is now recognizing the B.1.617 variant first identified in India as a variant of concern.

The province had previously said B.1.617 was considered a variant of interest, but as of Wednesday, that changed. A provincial spokesperson said the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) deemed B.1.617 as a variant of concern and requested provinces do the same.

As of Wednesday, the province started tracking the B.1.617 variant on its dashboard. The variant and its sub-lineages accounted for 18 cases.

Manitoba's total variant of concern cases jumped by 171 on Wednesday, bringing the total number of variant cases in the province to 7,141. Of these cases, 2,386 are considered active, and 4,714 are considered recovered.

The province has recorded 3,537 cases of the B.1.1.7. variant, 65 cases of the P1 variant, and 29 cases of the B.1.351 variant. There are 3,492 variant cases that are unspecified.