Canada on Friday announce entry ban to all foreign nationals who have travelled to South Africa in a bid to prevent the spread of the heavily mutated omicron variant of COVID-19.
Omar Alghabra, the Minister of Transport of Canada, said the government is taking concrete actions regarding the new variant in South Africa.
“Today we are banning entry for foreign nationals that have travelled to Southern Africa in the last 14 days,” Alghabra said.
He also added that the government make testing mandatory on all Canadians entering into Canada and having travelled to Southern Africa in the last 14 days.
The World Health Organization announced earlier today that the new variant (B.1.1.529) has been designated as a Variant of Concern.
The B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021.
The Omicron variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning, the World Health Organization said in a statement.
The statement further added that preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa.