Omicron variant in Canada: Two cases confirmed in Ottawa

The first cases related to the Omicron variant of Covid-19 have been reported in Canada, with two such infections identified in Ottawa, the country’s capital.
A medical worker prepares a BioNtech-Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine inside a mall in Manila City, on Monday. The first cases related to the Omicron variant of Covid-19 have been reported in Canada, with two such infections identified in Ottawa, the country’s capital. (AFP)
A medical worker prepares a BioNtech-Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine inside a mall in Manila City, on Monday. The first cases related to the Omicron variant of Covid-19 have been reported in Canada, with two such infections identified in Ottawa, the country’s capital. (AFP)
Published on Nov 29, 2021 11:38 AM IST
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ByAnirudh Bhattacharyya I Edited by Amit Chanda

The first cases related to the Omicron variant of Covid-19 have been reported in Canada, with two such infections identified in Ottawa, the country’s capital.

On Friday, Canada imposed a ban on foreign nationals travelling to the country from seven southern African nations. However, the two cases detected were not associated with those countries.

In a statement released on Sunday, Christine Elliott, deputy premier of the province of Ontario as well as minister of health and Dr Kieran Moore, chief medical officer of health, said, “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.”

Ontario has asked the federal government to mandate “point-of-arrival testing for all travellers irrespective of where they’re coming from”.

The ban announced on Friday and valid till January 31 next year was on South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Namibia. Some travellers, including Canadian citizens and permanent residents, were exempt.

Canadian authorities warned more cases may be discovered going ahead. Minister of health Jean-Yves Duclos said “As the monitoring and testing continues with provinces and territories, it is expected that other cases of this variant will be found in Canada.”

The government also warned Canadians against travelling outside the country, as the Public Health Agency of Canada noted, “Restrictions are changing quickly and may be imposed by countries with little warning, disrupting travel plans. Should individuals choose to travel outside Canada, they may be forced to remain outside of Canada longer than expected.”

Early date, it said, pointed to the variant being more transmissible that others earlier but “evidence is limited at this time”. The border measures that have been implemented, it added, while an international effort is in progress “to understand the potential implications in terms of transmission, clinical presentation and vaccine efficacy”.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2022