Two cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Canada, provincial health officials say.
The cases of the variant, which was first detected in southern Africa last week, were reported in two people in Ottawa who had recently travelled to Nigeria, the Ontario government said on Sunday.
"Ottawa Public Health is conducting case and contact management and the patients are in isolation," the statement said.
The detection of Omicron has triggered global alarm as governments around the world scramble to impose new travel restrictions and markets sold off, fearing the variant could be resistant to vaccinations and upend a nascent economic reopening after a two-year global pandemic.
On Friday, Canada closed its borders to foreign travellers who have recently been to seven southern African nations in the preceding two weeks to help stop the spread of the newly identified variant.
The World Health Organisation said it was not yet clear whether Omicron was more transmissible than other variants, or if it caused more severe disease.
Australian Associated Press