Canada confirms 5 cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant

Health workers at an airport in Canada waiting to test travellers

Health workers at an airport in Canada waiting to test for Omicron variant

Canada has confirmed five cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant, four in Ontario and one in Quebec.

Ontario, which announced two cases in Ottawa on Sunday, linked to recent travellers from Nigeria, announced an additional two Monday.

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, confirmed Monday evening that two other travellers had tested positive for the new variant of concern.

But she did not immediately specify where they had visited.

Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Kieran Moore, said Monday that the two additional cases are under investigation for the variant in the Hamilton area.

Also on Monday, Quebec Province’s Health Minister, Christian Dubé, confirmed the province’s first case of COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Dubé told reporters at a briefing that 115 travellers coming from countries impacted by the new variant, primarily South Africa, were called and asked to take a new PCR test for COVID-19.

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Ontario public health authorities have traced the possible contacts, of the first two cases.

“As the monitoring and testing continues, it is expected that other cases of this variant will be found in Canada,” said the country’s Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, on Sunday in a statement.

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.

WHO says it could take several weeks to know if there are significant changes in transmissibility, severity or implications for COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments.

Canada banned travel from seven African countries last Friday over concerns about the spread of the Omicron strain.

Canada did not extend the travel ban to Nigeria.

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