COVID: Canada confirms two cases of Omicron variant
Ottawa: The first two cases of the new, Omicron, coronavirus strain have been confirmed in Canada, the Ontario government says.
"Today, the province of Ontario has confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Ottawa, both of which were reported in individuals with recent travel from Nigeria. Ottawa Public Health is conducting case and contact management and the patients are in isolation," Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health, said in a Sunday statement.
According to the statement, point-of-arrival testing for COVID-19 will be encouraged for all travellers irrespective of where they are coming from. On Friday, Canada introduced a ban on foreign nationals travelling to Canada who had been to certain countries in southern Africa.
"The best defence against the Omicron variant is stopping it at our border," the Ontario government emphasized, adding that it is "prepared and ready to respond to this new variant."
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday that there is not enough data yet to state that the new Omicron strain is more dangerous than Delta, and existing vaccines remain effective.
On Friday, the WHO identified the new South African strain as one of concern, since it may be more transmissible and dangerous. Cases of the new variant have already been confirmed in multiple countries and governments rushed to suspend travel with southern African nations in order to prevent the spread of the new strain.