Covid-19: France, Canada detect possible Omicron cases

Eight cases of the Omicron variant detected in France while Canada confirms two cases in people who recently travelled to Nigeria



A group of tourists wearing the mask stand in front of the Grand Theatre in Bordeaux, southern France. — AFP
A group of tourists wearing the mask stand in front of the Grand Theatre in Bordeaux, southern France. — AFP

By Agencies

Published: Mon 29 Nov 2021, 2:54 AM

Last updated: Mon 29 Nov 2021, 2:56 AM

France’s Health Ministry said on Sunday it had detected eight possible cases of the Omicron Covid-19 variant across the country while Canada confirmed two cases of the new variant.

Omicron is potentially more contagious than previous variants, although experts do not know yet if it will cause more or less severe Covid-19 compared to other strains.

“They are being considered as possibly being contaminated with the Omicron variant having been to southern Africa in the last 14 days,” French health ministry said in a statement.

It said further tests were being carried out to fully confirm it was Omicron, but the people and those they had been in contact with were now in isolation.

Canada said the cases were reported in two people who recently travelled to Nigeria.

The detection of Omicron has triggered global alarm as governments around the world scramble to impose new travel restrictions and markets sold off, fearing the variant could be resistant to vaccinations and upend a nascent economic reopening after a two-year global pandemic.

ALSO READ:

On Friday, Canada closed its borders to foreign travellers who have recently been to seven Southern African nations in the preceding two weeks to help stop the spread of the newly identified variant of Covid-19.

“Today, the province of Ontario has confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Ottawa, both of which were reported in individuals with recent travel from Nigeria. Ottawa Public Health is conducting case and contact management and the patients are in isolation,” the statement said.

France is in the midst of a fifth wave of the virus. It recorded more than 31,600 positive Covid-19 cases on Sunday having seen a sharp rise in the number of patients in intensive care the previous day.

Health Minister Olivier Veran had earlier told reporters at a vaccination centre in Paris that the government would do its utmost to contain the spread of the new variant.

He said that any contact that a person at risk of a possible case or a confirmed case of the Omicron variant, even vaccinated, would now have to isolate. Those people should be considered “high risk” and quarantined.

Until now, contact cases of an infected person had to be isolated only when they were not fully vaccinated or when they had weak immune systems.

France has also suspended all flights from southern Africa until at least December 1 and stepped up protocols for people coming from its nearby overseas territories of La Reunion and Mayotte, the ministry said.


More news from coronavirus