Monday January 17, 2022

Canada bans travelers from SA due to new COVID-19 variant

Published : 27 Nov 2021, 03:09

Updated : 27 Nov 2021, 03:23

  DF News Desk

Travelers wearing face masks line up to check in at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, on Oct. 30, 2021. File Photo: Xinhua.

Canada announced on Friday banning the entry of foreigners who have traveled through southern Africa in the last 14 days due to increasing concerns over a new variant of COVID-19, reported Xinhua.

The southern African countries include South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said anyone who has traveled through southern Africa in the last 14 days is being asked to quarantine now and to go for a COVID-19 test.

Those individuals must remain in quarantine until they receive a negative result, Duclos said at a press conference in Ottawa.

Canadians and permanent residents returning to Canada from the region through another country must take a negative COVID-19 test in the third country. They will also be tested upon arrival in Canada, Duclos said.

Duclos said Global Affairs Canada will also be issuing a travel advisory, asking all Canadians not to travel to southern Africa.

According to Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam, there is no indication of the variant's presence within Canada to date.

She told reporters that health officials are continuing to monitor the variant.

The news came just after the World Health Organization (WHO) designated B.1.1.529 a variant of concern, and named it "Omicron", which is believed to have originated in South Africa.

The variant was first reported from South Africa on Nov. 24 and the variant has a "large number of mutations," some of which "are concerning."

According to the WHO, the number of cases of this variant "appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa."