Omicron Variant Of COVID-19 Detected In Canada

There are two confirmed cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Ottawa, the Ontario government has confirmed.

These are the first cases of the Omicron variant confirmed in Canada, coming just days after the country implemented new travel restrictions on foreign nationals who had visited several countries in southern Africa over the preceding two weeks.

Those travel restrictions went into effect last Friday (November 26). The Omicron variant was first identified by South African researchers and has provoked global concern.

Little is known about the new variant, dubbed “Omicron” by the World Health Organization and labelled as a “variant of concern.” It is being linked to a rapid rise of cases in South Africa.

However, on Sunday, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, the South African doctor who first detected the Omicron variant, described its symptoms as “extremely mild,” soothing market fears of a potential return to lockdown restrictions during the coming holidays.

In response to the Omicron variant being discovered in Ottawa, the Government of Ontario urged residents to get vaccinated, including with booster doses, and to continue following public health guidance.

In a written statement, federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the confirmation of two Omicron cases is a sign that Canada’s monitoring system is working but to expect more cases of the variant.