Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos released a statement at 3:00 PM this afternoon after it was announced that 2 cases of the COVID-19 variant Omicron had been discovered in Ontario.
"I have spoken with my provincial counterpart in Ontario whose public health officials are working provincially and locally to contact and trace the cases.
"As the monitoring and testing continues with provinces and territories, it is expected that other cases of this variant will be found in Canada," he added.
The B.1.1.529 variant, or Omicron variant according to the World Health Organization (WHO) was first reported in South Africa on 24 November 2021.
On Friday, Premier of Ontario Doug Ford called on the government of Canada to immediately ban all flights and passengers from countries of concern, "Anyone arriving before the ban is implemented should be tested and quarantined."
The government of Canada took action shortly after the calls from premiers from across the country. The Government of Canada implemented enhanced border measures for all travellers who have been in the Southern Africa region — including South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Namibia— within the last 14 days before arriving in Canada, until January 31, 2022.
According to Health Canada, there have been over 1.7 million cases of COVID-19 identified in Canada, with 29,618 people dying from complications related to COVID.
In the last seven days, Ontario has seen close to 5,000 cases of COVID-19 identified.