Timeline and tracking of the new variant Omicron can be found right here on Public Relations Canada's website as we will be updating this publishing as time goes on. Take a look and remember to check back later for updated information.
Friday, November 26, 2021
Scientists in South Africa discovered a new strain of the coronavirus this week, which they believe is responsible for a recent increase in COVID-19 infections in Gauteng, the country's most populous province. The origin of the new variation is unknown, but it was discovered in Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong, and Israel by experts in South Africa, who first alerted the World Health Organization.
The variant has been connected to a "exponential rise" in instances in recent days, according to Health Minister Joe Phaahla, while experts are still attempting to figure out if the new variety is to blame.
South Africa's daily case count jumped to 2,465 on Thursday, up from slightly over 200 in prior weeks. Scientists studying virus samples from the outbreak discovered the new variety while trying to explain the dramatic increase in cases.
Saturday, November 27, 2021
Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos stated today that Canada will restrict travel from seven nations in southern Africa, an area where a novel — and potentially more contagious — coronavirus type has been detected.
Foreign nationals who have been via South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, or Mozambique in the last 14 days will be denied entry to Canada starting today.
According to Duclos, Global Affairs Canada will also release an advice today prohibiting all travel to the region for the foreseeable future.
Citizens and permanent residents of Canada will be able to return home, but there will be a new criterion that may make travel difficult.
Because there are no direct flights between the region and Canada, most visitors must pass through European, Middle Eastern, and American airports.
Beginning today, travellers must undergo a molecular test in the country through which they connect on their journey to their final destination.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said the new strain — dubbed the "omicron" variant by the World Health Organization (WHO) — has not yet been reported in Canada.
Sunday, November 28, 2021
Due to worries about the new omicron form, the World Health Organization (WHO) asked countries throughout the world not to impose flight bans on southern African countries on Sunday.
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's regional director for Africa, urged countries to follow science and international health regulations rather than imposing travel restrictions.
"Travel restrictions may play a role in slightly reducing the spread of COVID-19 but place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods," Moeti said in a statement. "If restrictions are implemented, they should not be unnecessarily invasive or intrusive, and should be scientifically based, according to the International Health Regulations, which is a legally binding instrument of international law recognized by over 190 nations."
The Ontario government stated Sunday that there are two confirmed cases of the omicron type of the coronavirus in Ottawa. "Today, the province of Ontario has confirmed two cases of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in Ottawa, both of which were reported in individuals with recent travel from Nigeria. Ottawa Public Health is conducting case and contact management and the patients are in isolation."
These are the country's first confirmed instances of the omicron variant, which come just days after the country imposed new travel restrictions on foreign nationals who had visited various countries in southern Africa in the previous two weeks.
On Friday, the travel restrictions went into effect. South African researchers were the first to discover the omicron form, which has sparked worldwide worry.