The first two Canadian cases of the Omigron variant have been identified in Ontario. Provincial and federal officials confirmed the news Sunday afternoon.
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said two cases had been identified in the Ottawa area and were returning from a trip to Nigeria.
Ms Elliott and Chief Medical Officer Dr Kieran Moore said in a statement that Ottawa Public Health was handling the case and contact and that patients were being kept separate.
The federal government recently banned travelers from seven countries in South Africa from entering the country. Nigeria, located in West Africa, is not on the list.
Ms. Elliott and Dr. Moore urged the federal government to take the necessary steps to better protect all travelers, regardless of their origin, from screening for their arrival, to better protect them from the spread of this new variant.
The Ontario government says it is ready to respond to the arrival of the new variant. “Our hospital and intensive care facilities are consistent and the province continues to report one of the lowest rates of active patients in the country,” Ms Elliott and Dr Moore said.
They recalled that the Ontario Covid-19 Genomic Network was implementing 100% genetic sequencing of eligible models that were positive for Covid-19.
For his part, Union Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says he was informed of the situation by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
According to him, the quick identification of these two cases proved the effectiveness of the surveillance system in the country.
Mr. Douglas wanted to reassure the public by announcing that “the vaccine will be effective in reducing the spread of COV-19 and its variants in communities, in conjunction with public health and personal safety measures.”
However, he warned that more cases of the Omicron variant would be expected in Canada.