New travel restrictions within Canada; new cases of Omicron variant detected

Unvaccinated travellers over the age of 12 cannot board a plane or train in Canada

New restrictions for travelling within Canada took effect today.

Unvaccinated travellers over the age of 12 are not able to board a plane or train in Canada, and a negative COVID-19 test no longer serves as a substitute for most people.

There are some exceptions, including valid medical exemptions and travel to remote communities only accessible by plane

Most people who qualify for an exemption will need a recent COVID-19 test.

New cases of Omicron discovered in Ontario

As of Tuesday morning, there are four cases of Omicron in Ontario – all of them in the Ottawa area. Others are under investigation. A case has also been identified in Quebec.

One of the doctors who discovered the new strain says it appears to cause milder symptoms than other variants, noting none of the patients she and her colleagues saw had to be admitted to the hospital. They were fatigued, she says, but suffered no loss of taste or smell.

Too soon to draw conclusions about Omicron

Still, that sample was small and epidemiologists say there is little data to draw any conclusions. Their main concern at the moment is how quickly Omicron, and its many mutations, will spread, and how vaccines will match up against it.

The head of Moderna says its vaccine is unlikely to be as effective as it was against the Delta variant.

And the World Health Organization has said Omicron carries a very high risk of infection surges.

feature image: Cjstepney via Wikimedia Commons