A Canadian flag seen at Calgary International Airport.
  • Canadian health officials said Sunday they had found two cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
  • They were in two people who had just returned from Nigeria and tested positive in Ontario.
  • The cases are the first reported in North America.  
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Canadian health officials have reported two cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, marking the first in North America.

The cases were in two people who had recently traveled to Nigeria, western Africa, and tested positive for Covid-19 in Ontario on Sunday, Ottawa Public Health said in a statement.

It is not clear whether they were previously in southern Africa, where the new variant was first detected and was spreading rapidly.

The cases are the first to be reported in North America.

On Friday, Canada introduced travel restrictions on people who had visited some southern African countries in the past two weeks.

"The best defense against the omicron variant is stopping it at our border. In addition to the measures recently announced, we continue to urge the federal government to take the necessary steps to mandate point-of-arrival testing for all travellers irrespective of where they're coming from to further protect against the spread of this new variant," said Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott and Dr. Kieran Moore, the province's chief medical officer of health.

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