Two people are now in isolation in Ottawa.
Ontario's chief medical officer, Dr. Kieran Moore, said at a press conference Monday that Canada's first confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus variant Omicron arrived in the country by way of Montreal.
The two infected individuals are now in Ottawa after "recent travel from Nigeria," according to Dr. Moore. He said they underwent testing in Montreal and that officials in Ontario received their results from counterparts in Quebec.
"I want to reassure Ontarians that we are prepared and ready to respond to this or any other new variant," the chief medical officer said, explaining that both individuals are in isolation.
"These cases are being monitored very closely by both Public Health Agency of Canada and now Ottawa Public Health."
On Friday, November 26, the World Health Organization labelled Omicron a "variant of concern." Officials in South Africa were the first to identify it.
The WHO said "it is not yet clear" whether the variant is more transmissible or leads to "more severe disease," but that the decision to classify Omicron as concerning came after evidence showed "several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves."
In response to the emergence of the variant, the Government of Canada announced in a November 26 news release that it was introducing "enhanced border measures for all travellers 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."
The government has banned foreign nationals who have been to any of these countries within 14 days from entering Canada.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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