The Ministry of Health in Canada has reported two cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 disease in two residents who recently travelled to Nigeria.
This was confirmed in a statement issued on Monday, November 29 by Health Minister, Jean-Yves Duclos, Naija News reports.
Duclos noted in the statement that the variant case of the life-threatening disease was detected on the citizens on Sunday, making the country record the first cases of the new Omicron strain.
The government official explained that the two cases are in isolation in the capital, Ottawa, while public health authorities trace their possible contacts.
“I was informed today by the Public Health Agency of Canada that testing and monitoring of COVID-19 cases has confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of concern in Ontario,” Duclos said in the statement.
“As the monitoring and testing continue, it is expected that other cases of this variant will be found in Canada,” the minister was quoted as saying by France24.com.
Naija News had reported that the new mutation of Covid-19, which appeared in South Africa Omicron, is described as “worrying” by the WHO.
The scientific community is trying to find out if it is resistant to vaccines.
This variant of Sars-CoV-2 responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic was identified in several southern African countries in November.
The majority of the sixty cases identified on Friday, November 26, 2021 (after sequencing of the virus) have been identified in South Africa.
The variant was classified by the WHO among the “variants to watch” on November 24 before being upgraded to a “variant of concern” on Friday evening.
A first European case was identified in Belgium this Friday, November 26, in an unvaccinated person coming from Egypt, having passed through Turkey, before arriving on Belgian soil on November 11. Outside the seven countries of southern Africa, a case had been identified in Hong Kong and another in Israel, in travellers returning from Africa.
This variant has a large number of mutations in the S protein. It is this protein that allows the virus to enter our cells, and it is, therefore, that which is targeted by vaccines and treatments.
The emergence of this variant could be correlated with an upsurge in cases in several regions of South Africa, the most affected country on the African continent.
The number of daily Covid cases there is still only around 3,000 and there are 42 cases per 100,000 people.
The South African Pr Tulio de Oliveira, whose lab had identified the Beta variant, asserts, however “that in less than two weeks, this variant has become dominant”.
According to him, it is highly contagious and responsible for “90% of infections in the Gauteng region”, the most populous in the country.
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