Two people that returned to Canada from Nigeria have tested positive for the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.
Announcing in a joint statement on Sunday, Christine Elliott, Ontario Health minister and Kieran Moore, the state’s chief medical officer of health, disclosed that the patients are isolated, adding that the province public health is already conducting case and contact management.
Officials boasted that the state was ready and prepared to tackle the new worrisome variant of the virus.
“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,” the joint statement by the health officials said.
“Ontario is prepared and ready to respond to this new variant,” the officials added.
Disclosing that the state’s COVID-19 Genomic Network is actively monitoring all potential variants circulating in the province, the health officials revealed that the network is conducting genomic sequencing on 100 per cent of eligible COVID-19 positive samples.
On its part, Ottawa public health body advised individuals that travelled to Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Namibia within 14 days before arriving in Ottawa to immediately self-isolate and seek COVID-19 testing at the province assessment centre.
On Sunday, World Health Organisation (WHO) said it is still ‘not clear’ whether the Omicron COVID-19 variant is more transmissible or more severe than Delta.
WHO said its experts, researchers in South Africa and worldwide are currently conducting studies to understand Omicron better.
The UN health agency on Friday named the COVID-19 variant identified in South Africa the Greek name ‘Omicron’, and labelled it a variant of concern due to its large number of mutations and possible faster rate of infection.
According to WHO, the experts are studying to understand the aspects of Omicron, but as of right now, it is not clear whether it is more transmissible compared to other variants, including Delta.