Region’s first Omicron variant coronavirus infection confirmed by the public health department
The first case of the new coronavirus in Nova Scotia has been confirmed, health officials said on Wednesday.
“We have seen the first case of Omicron variant in Nova Scotia and we are taking every possible measure to continue to improve our preparedness and response,” Dr Gregory Taylor, the province’s acting medical officer of health, said in a statement.
“I want to reassure people that public health officials are working closely with provincial and federal public health agencies to ensure that we have the most effective response possible.”
The case involves a healthcare worker who flew to London, UK, on 23 August, from Qatar where OPC is a new coronavirus. The case in Nova Scotia was confirmed by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
The World Health Organization has called OPC, which is named after the Omicron Aegypti constellation, “one of the most closely related viruses to Sars”, the virus that caused a global pandemic in 2003.
ONPC is related to Sars but that virus, coronavirus Sars-1, had only fatality rates of about 5%. The new Omicron variant is linked to at least 32 deaths among people who died from Sars in 2003.
But there is no proof that the new coronavirus has as many cases, according to the WHO.
“There was never any doubt that the second coronavirus was related to Sars, because of the vast differences in the epidemiology of infection with both these viruses,” said Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the WHO in Geneva.
“The WHO has recommended that the WHO-accredited laboratories in Europe test all coronavirus isolates from the Middle East for the presence of OPC and have been doing so.”
Harten said the samples came from the coronavirus was “always present” in the samples, meaning that there is no evidence that it could not become disseminated in other countries where it has been circulating.
The University of Nottingham and the University of Maryland are the first recognised laboratories to test OPC samples on animals – monkeys – for the presence of the new coronavirus.
Hartl said that WHO will issue additional information and alerts when there is proof that OPC has spread globally.