Five cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant has been confirmed in Canada to date.
“Of course we follow the situation with Omicron very, very closely. We know that, even though Canada has very strong border measures now – we need vaccinations to get to Canada, we need tests before departure, we test on arrival,” Trudeau said to journalists as he walked into a Tuesday ministerial meeting.
“There may be more we need to do and we will look at it very carefully.”
Canada has already taken some steps to break down its borders in response to concerns about the newly discovered Omicron variant. On Friday, the government banned travelers from seven African countries: South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.
Other countries have imposed similar bans, including the Hong Kong region, which closed its borders to Canadians on Tuesday.
Immunologist ‘does not panic’ as Canada confirms the first cases of Omicron variant
The WHO has warned that the global risk from Omicron is “very high”, with early evidence suggesting it may be more contagious than other variants of concern.
According to Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam a series of mutations in two key regions of the virus’ tip protein, including on the tip receptor binding domain, which is where the virus gets stuck and invades our cells.
That, Tam warned Friday, could “mean a potential for increased transmission of the virus.”
The second regarding mutations in the Omicron variant is on what is known as “antigenic supersite.”
“Mutations in this area of the virus can affect our body’s natural immunity as well as potentially reduce the immunity that vaccines offer,” Tam said.
When Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos was pressured on whether Canada can expect more restrictions as a result of this new COVID-19 variant, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos was tight-lipped.
Countries are increasing the restrictions as more Omicron cases are discovered worldwide
Canada will need to “learn more” about the variant and its possible effects, including on transmission, infection and vaccines, Duclo’s journalists spoke in French on Tuesday.
He added that he hopes to say more “as soon as possible.”
– with files from The Associated Press
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