The Canadian government has extended its travel ban on travellers who have recently visited Nigeria amid worries over the spread of the recently discovered Omicron variant of the Coronavirus.
This is coming two days after Canada announced that it detected its first cases of the new Omicron strain of Coronavirus in two people who had travelled recently to Nigeria.
Egypt and Malawi were also added to the list, making it a total of 10 countries in Africa that were handed a travel ban by Canada over concerns of the spread of the new variant.
“We are adding three countries to the list of these countries that we talked about last Friday; these are Malawi, Egypt and Nigeria,” Canadian Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a statement on Wednesday.
“As of today, foreign nationals who have travelled to these countries over the last 14 days will be forbidden from entering Canada. They join a list of seven southern African countries that had restrictive measures imposed on them.
“Canadian citizens and permanent residents that have been in any of these ten countries over the last 14 days will need to receive a negative PCR test before being allowed to travel to Canada. Upon arriving in Canada, they will face more testing and quarantine measures.
“These new measures also apply to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, even those that are fully vaccinated,” the official said.
Omicron in Nigeria
Nigeria on Wednesday reported its first cases of the Omicron variant, also known as B.1.1.529 lineage.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced this in a statement signed by the Director-General, Ifedayo Adetifa, saying three cases of the variant were discovered through “genomic sequencing.”
They were discovered in travellers from South Africa, where the new strain had already started spreading.
While the disease centre noted that no death has, however, been reportedly linked to the new variant, it confirmed its high mutations and transmissibilities, noting that a total of 126 genomes of the variant has been identified so far.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Channels Television Wednesday morning, the NCDC director, Mr Adetifa noted that the new variant is a matter of concern and not a cause of alarm as its fatality rate is still very low.
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