The new COVID-19 variant named Omicron has been discovered and made its way to Canada, specifically in Ontario.
The origin of the variant was found in Southern Africa. The variant was first detected on Nov. 24 in a specimen collected on Nov. 9, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) who have since labeled B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern.
On Sunday, Ottawa reported, two people unknowingly brought the variant back with them after a trip from Nigeria, which triggered Canada’s first two cases of the new strain.
On Sunday Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health made a joint statement of the newly found strain.
“Ottawa Public Health is conducting case and contact management and the patients are in isolation.”
Kenora-Rainy River MPP, Greg Rickford spoke with the Q Morning Show Monday about what the province is doing to prevent the spread of the new variant.
“We reached out to the federal government immediately and said you have to shut down these flights coming out of the affected African countries. We’ve always felt that the best defense is to stop it at the border,” said Rickford.
“Ensure that anybody who’s coming in from any of those countries that were literally in transition when all this came down in the past couple of days goes into strict and immediate quarantine,” added Rickford.
Rickford noted Premier, Doug Ford asked Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health to implement expanded surveillance and updated scenario planning.
The federal government issued precautionary measures of its own on November 26, 2021. Until January 31, 2022, the Government of Canada is implementing enhanced border measures for all travelers 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.
Foreign nationals who have traveled to any of these countries within the previous 14 days will not be permitted entry into Canada.
Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and people with status under the Indian Act, regardless of their vaccination status or having had a previous history of testing positive for COVID-19, who have been in these countries in the previous 14 days will be subject to enhanced testing, screening, and quarantine measures.
Omicron has been discovered in other countries including the Netherland, Denmark, Australia, Italy, Germany, Britain, Israel, Hong Kong, Botswana, Belgium, and Switzerland.
The new variant strain discovery comes the same day as Ontario reported its highest daily COVID-19 case count since May 30, 2021, with 964 new cases found Sunday.