Ontario’s top doctor to speak after Canada’s first cases of Omicron variant discovered in province

TORONTO — Ontario’s chief medical officer of health will speak Monday morning after the province confirmed the first two Canadian cases of the new Omicron variant over the weekend.

The news conference will be held at 9:30 a.m. at Queen’s Park and will be streamed on CTVNewsToronto.ca and on the CTV News Toronto app.

Dr. Kieran Moore confirmed the two cases of the B.1.1.529 variant, which was first detected in southern Africa, on Sunday in a joint statement with Health Minister Christine Elliott.

The cases were found in two people from Ottawa who had returned from a trip to Nigeria.

“Ottawa Public Health is conducting case and contact management and the patients are in isolation,” the statement said. “The Ontario COVID-19 Genomic Network is continuing to actively monitor for all potential variants circulating in the province, including the Omicron variant, and is conducting genomic sequencing on 100 per cent of eligible COVID-19 positive samples.”

The variant was first detected on Nov. 24 in a specimen collected on Nov. 9, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) who have since labeled B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern.

Preliminary information appears to show the Omicron variant has an increased risk of reinfection compared to other variants, potentially making it more contagious.

As a result, on Friday the Canadian government joined several countries to announce travel restrictions for some southern African countries. Nigeria, however, was not on the list.

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