Canadian authorities, on Sunday, revealed that they have detected its first cases of the new Omicron strain of COVID-19 in two persons who had recently travelled to Nigeria.
The government of Ontario confirmed that the two cases are in the capital, Ottawa, France24.com reports
Federal and Ontario provincial officials said both patients are in isolation while public health authorities trace their possible contacts.
“I was informed today by the Public Health Agency of Canada that testing and monitoring of COVID-19 cases has confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of concern in Ontario.
“As the monitoring and testing continues, it is expected that other cases of this variant will be found in Canada,” Health Minister, Jean-Yves Duclos, said in a statement.
On Friday, Canada banned travel from seven African countries over concerns about the spread of the Omicron strain, but Nigeria was not one of them.
The Federal Government had claimed that the new COVID-19 variant was not yet in Nigeria.
The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said in a statement on Sunday that the agency is prioritising sequencing of recently accrued samples from SARS-COV-2 positive travellers from all countries, especially those from countries that have already reported the Omicron variant.
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.
The 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.