Ontario reports 2 confirmed, 4 possible cases of Omicron variant

Ontario has confirmed Canada’s first two cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, as well as four possible cases.

Provincial leaders said Sunday that the cases were found in Ottawa in people who had recently travelled from Nigeria and were first tested when they arrived in Montreal. The individuals are in isolation and public health officials are conducting case and contact management.

"I want to reassure Ontarians that we are prepared and ready to respond to this or any other new variant," Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, Doctor Kieran Moore, said during a news conference Monday.

"The Ontario COVID-19 genomic network is continuing to actively monitor for all potential variants circulating in the province, including the Omicron variant. And it is conducting genomic sequencing on 100% of COVID-19 positive samples in Ontario," Moore said.

Among the possible cases, two are in the Ottawa area and two are in the Hamilton area.

The news came two days after Canada banned the entry of foreign nationals who have traveled through southern Africa in the last 14 days. However, Nigeria is not in southern Africa and is not part of the travel ban, which includes South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Namibia.

Government ministers also said Friday that all Canadians who have travelled to southern Africa in the last 14 days will be tested on arrival and must quarantine until they get a negative test result. Those who have arrived in the last 14 days are also asked to quarantine and get a COVID-19 test.