Canada has announced its first cases of the new Omicron strain of COVID-19, in two people who traveled recently to Nigeria.
The government of Ontario confirmed that the two cases are in the country’s capital, Ottawa.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has listed Omicron as a “variant of concern” and countries around the world are now restricting travel from southern Africa, where the new strain was first detected and taking other new precautions.
The WHO said it could take several weeks to know if there are significant changes in transmissibility, severity, or implications for COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments.
According to the health minister, Canada, Jean-Yves Duclos, both patients are in isolation while public health authorities trace their possible contacts, said Federal and Ontario provincial officials.
“I was informed today by the Public Health Agency of Canada that testing and monitoring of COVID-19 cases has confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of concern in Ontario. As the monitoring and testing continues, it is expected that other cases of this variant will be found in Canada,” Duclos explained.
To reduce the transmission of the Omicron variant and out of an abundance of caution, the minister said individuals who have been in Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Namibia, within 14 days before arriving in Canada and members of their households to immediately self-isolate even if fully vaccinated.