Canada Canada may need to do ‘more’ to combat Omicron COVID-19 variant, Trudeau says
Canada clamps down on Omicron COVID-19 variant. Experts say it’s likely ‘already here’
Omicron, also known as B.1.1.529 was designated by the World Health Organization as a variant of concern earlier Friday after reports of the virus' spread across South Africa.Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos announced Friday afternoon that the Canadian government would be introducing a total of five measures to limit the spread of the new variant — including entry to foreign nationals who’ve travelled through a handful of African countries in the past 14 days.
says there "may be more" Canada needs to do as it reckons with the newly discovered threat of .
Five cases of the Omicronvariant have been confirmed in Canada to date.
"Obviously, we’re watching very, very closely the situation with Omicron. We know that, even though Canada has very strong border measures now — we need vaccinations to come to Canada, we need pre-departure tests, we do testing on arrival," Trudeau told reporters as he walked into a Tuesday cabinet meeting.
13 omicron cases in Portuguese soccer team
TOKYO (AP) — Portuguese health authorities said Monday they have identified 13 cases of omicron, the new coronavirus variant believed to be more contagious, among team members of a professional soccer club. The Ricardo Jorge National Health Institute said Monday that one of those who tested positive at the Lisbon-based Belenenses soccer club had recently traveled to South Africa, where the omicron variant was first identified. The others, however, had not traveled to South Africa, indicating that this may be one of the very first cases of local transmission of the virus outside of southern Africa.
"There may be more we need to do and we’ll be looking at it very carefully."
Canada has already taken some steps to batten down its borders in response to worries about the newly discovered Omicron variant. On Friday, the government banned travellers from seven African countries: South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.
Other countries have enacted similar bans, including the region of Hong Kong, which closed its borders to Canadians on Tuesday.
The WHO has warned that the global risk from Omicron is "very high," with early evidence suggesting it might be more contagious than other variants of concern.
Omicron: How does it compare with other COVID-19 variants of concern?
The Omicron variant, first detected by South Africa, has become the latest and fifth variant of concern designated by the WHO since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A variant of concern has the potential for increased transmissibility, severity of illness or decreased effectiveness of vaccines, treatments and public health measures, according to WHO. Cases of Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and now the Omicron variant have been detected in Canada. Here is what we know so far about the Omicron variant and how it compares with the other variant of concern. Omicron The B.1.1.
The variant has a number of mutations in two key areas of the virus' spike protein, according to Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, including on the spike receptor-binding domain, which is where the virus attaches itself and invades our cells.
That, Tam warned on Friday, could "signify a potential for increased transmissibility of the virus."
The other concerning mutations in the Omicron variant are on what's known as the "antigenic supersite."
"Mutations to this area of the virus may impact our body's natural immunity as well as potentially reduce immunity offered by vaccines," Tam said.
When pressed on whether Canada can expect more restrictions as a result of this new COVID-19 variant, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos was tight-lipped.
Canada will have to "learn more" about the variant and its possible impacts, including on transmission, infection, and vaccines, Duclos told reporters, speaking in French on Tuesday.
He added that he hopes to say more "as soon as possible."
— with files from The Associated Press
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