On November 28, Minister of Health – Jean-Duclos confirmed that two cases on “Omicron” variant has been identified by Public Health Agency of Canada in Ontario. Minister has spoken to Ontarian counterparts who are working on tracing the cases their last know contacts. 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.
Furthermore, he said that it is expected that variant of concern, Omicron will be found in other parts of Canada. “I know that this new variant may seem concerning, but I want to remind Canadians that vaccination, in combination with public health and individual protective measures, is working to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and its variants in our communities” Duclos added.
His press release also highlighted the new measures announced on November 26 for all travelers who have been in the Southern Africa region — including South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Namibia— within the last 14 days before arriving in Canada, until January 31, 2022. Canadian government said that they will continue to assess the evolving situation and adjust border measures as required.
Minister’s statement also said that “new measures in response to Omicron has been implemented while the Canadian and global medical, public health and research communities actively evaluate this variant – as has been done with previous variants — to better understand the potential implications in terms of transmission, clinical presentation and vaccine efficacy. The Government of Canada will continue to assess the evolving situation and I will provide updates as we have them.”
Nigeria is not among the countries banned by Canada because of Omicron, but both of the cases have connection to Nigeria.
As per Public Health Agency of Canada, early data suggest that the Omicron variant may be more transmissible but evidence is limited at this time. There is ongoing international data gathering to determine the impact of this variant on severity of illness and on vaccine effectiveness.