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Omicron variant now in North America as first cases found in Canada


Travelers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) wait for their turn at a flight ticket counter at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, 29 November 2021. (Fazry Ismail/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

The omicron coronavirus variant has been detected in Canada, the country’s health minister said on Sunday, marking the first identification of the variant in North America as cases continue to emerge around the globe.

Two cases in Ontario were confirmed to have been of the omicron variant, which has been noted as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada’s health minister, said.

The variant has also been found in countries ranging from Australia to Israel, Botswana to Britain, since it was first detected in South Africa. Here’s where cases have been detected around the world.

“This clearly demonstrates the pandemic is not over,” Dominic Perrottet, the premier of Australia’s New South Wales state, told reporters Sunday after the variant was detected there. “There are limits to what the state and federal government can do: These variants will get into the country. It is inevitable.”

Here’s what to know

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