The first two cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant have been confirmed in Canada, more specifically two people in Ottawa who had travelled to Nigeria.
Notably, Nigeria as not amongst the list of countries from which travel has been halted by several jurisdictions. Canada has put a halt to flights from South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini, as has the United States.
Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a statement that "as the monitoring and testing continues with provinces and territories, it is expected that other cases of this variant will be found in Canada."
Dr. Vera Etches of Ottawa Public Health released a statement that it is "conducting case and contact management and the individuals are self-isolating....To protect the privacy of the individual, Ottawa Public Health cannot disclose additional information about any case of COVID-19. Ottawa Public Health is working with the Province to monitor COVID-19 variants of concern including Delta and Omicron.
The health agency added that it "advises individuals who have been in Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Namibia, within 14 days before arriving in Ottawa, and members of their households to immediately self-isolate even if fully vaccinated.
"In the coming days, we may see an increase in the number of people testing positive because of transmission of the Omicron variant in Ottawa. It is important to remember that this is not a new virus and that the public health measures that we practise will help reduce the spread of the Omicron variant."