Canada's first two confirmed cases of the Omicron variant are in Ottawa.
Quebec has a case of the Omicron COVID-19 virus variant. Health Minister Chrisitan Dubé announced in a press conference on Monday afternoon that officials identified the province's first confirmed infection Monday morning.
In addition, Dubé said that "115 travellers from countries affected with the new variant [...] have been called to do a new PCR test and isolate themselves."
According to the health minister, local public health experts are currently carrying out analyses on Omicron, which the World Health Organization has labelled a "variant of concern."
Dubé said these experts are looking at two things.
"First, what we call the 'vaccine escape' — in effect, how this new variant resists the vaccines that we have."
"Second, is this virus [...] more virulent or more contagious or less?"
The WHO has said that it's still unclear whether Omicron is more transmissible or produces worse symptoms than other variants.
In response to its emergence, Canada has imposed new restrictions on travellers who have visited a handful of countries in southern Africa. Officials in South Africa were the first to identify Omicron.
Two people are currently in isolation in Ottawa after testing positive for the variant. The two individuals recently travelled from Nigeria.
According to Ontario Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kieran Moore, these two individuals transited through Montreal. These were the first confirmed infections with the new COVID-19 virus variant in Canada.
Dubé also said that the province has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases. In the last seven days, a majority of cases come from the unvaccinated, the health minister explained.
"For those that are not vaccinated, it's important that they get a vaccination."
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.
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