Canada bans more countries amid fears over omicron variant

November 30, 2021 GMT

TORONTO (AP) — Canada announced a ban Tuesday on foreign nationals from three more countries because of concerns with the omicron COVID-19 variant.

Canada is banning all foreigners who have traveled through Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, said all of the omicron cases in Canada have come from Nigeria which has a low vaccination rate.

Ottawa already announced a ban on foreign nationals from seven countries in southern Africa.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos also said all air travelers coming to the country apart from the United States will have to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at the airport and will have to isolate themselves until they get the results of the test.

Duclos said the federal government will be working the provinces to see how further testing for those entering from the U.S. could be done if needed.

The province of Ontario announced its first cases on Sunday and Quebec reported its first case on Monday.

The provinces of British Columbia and Alberta also confirmed their first cases of omicron in individuals who traveled from Nigeria. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said the Alberta case traveled through the Netherlands and is asymptomatic.

Duclos said travelers from outside Canada still need to do a pre departure COVID-19 test which they will pay for. The Canadian government will pay for the test on arrival for air travelers coming to Canada apart from the U.S.

Tam said there has been a rise in overall COVID-19 cases from Nigeria and Egypt.