TORONTO – Two Ottawa people who recently traveled to Nigeria have tested positive for the new, highly transmissible COVID-19 type of concern that first emerged in southern Africa, becoming Canada’s first two cases.

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Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Kieran Moore confirmed the news in a statement on Sunday.

“Ottawa Public Health is conducting case and contact management and patients are in isolation,” the statement said.

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“The Ontario COVID-19 Genomic Network is actively monitoring for all potential variants circulating in the province, including Omicron variants, and is conducting genomic sequencing on 100 percent of eligible COVID-19 positive samples.”

According to the World Health Organization, the variant was reported by South Africa on 24 November, with the first confirmed case coming from a sample collected on 9 November.

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The WHO stated that some of the mutations of the omicron variants are related. It said preliminary information suggests that there is an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron compared to other forms of anxiety.

Several countries, including Canada, announced travel restrictions for southern African countries on Friday.

Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a statement that he had spoken to his provincial counterpart about the new cases.

“This development shows that our surveillance system is working,” he said.

“As surveillance and testing continues with provinces and territories, it is expected that more cases of this type will be found in Canada.”