Canada said on Sunday it detected its first cases of the new Omicron strain of Covid, in two people who had recently traveled to Nigeria.
Both patients are in isolation while public health authorities track their potential contacts, Ontario federal and provincial officials said.
“The Public Health Agency of Canada informed me today that testing and monitoring of Covid-19 cases have confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of concern in Ontario,” Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a statement.
“As testing and monitoring continues,” he added, “other cases of this variant are expected to be found in Canada.”
The Ontario government confirmed that the two cases are in the capital, Ottawa.
The World Health Organization 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 are taking other new precautions. .
The WHO says it could take several weeks to know if there are significant changes in the transmissibility, severity or implications of Covid vaccines, tests and treatments.
On Friday, Canada banned travel from seven African countries over concerns about the spread of the Omicron strain. Nigeria was not one of them.