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First case of Omicron variant confirmed in Alberta, patient remains in quarantine


The Alberta government has announced the province's first confirmed case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 as the federal government implements new testing rules for travellers returning to Canada.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw disclosed Alberta's first Omicron case during Tuesday afternoon's COVID-19 update.

"This case has been confirmed in a returning traveller from Nigeria and the Netherlands," said Hinshaw. "The individual tested positive while asymptomatic and I can confirm the individual has not left quarantine since their arrival from international travel."

According to Hinshaw, the infected individual has not left quarantine and both they and their family have been informed of the positive test.

"At this time, this is the only confirmed case of Omicron in the province."

On Monday the province confirmed 156 Albertans were in quarantine after returning from travel in a country in southern Africa due to concerns regarding the potential spread of the altered Omicron variant.

"While it is important that we all continue to remain vigilant in the face of COVID-19 to protect ourselves and others, we don't want Albertans to be alarmed," said Hinshaw.

"As I mentioned yesterday, we anticipated the arrival of this variant in the province eventually based on what we have seen with other strains of COVID-19. We are well prepared for this eventuality and have the necessary tools in place to monitor this case and any potential spread of the variant."

With cases of the Omicron variant confirmed in more provinces, the federal government is imposing new testing rules for people arriving in the country from all nations, except the US. 

“All air travelers coming from outside Canada, apart from the United States, will now need to be tested at the airport in which they are landing in Canada -- whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated," said federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.

"They will then need to isolate themselves until they get the result of their test,” he announced. The minister said Canada is exploring whether to eventually include travellers returning from the US to its new testing rules.

Canada is also expanding the list of countries facing a federal travel ban.

All foreign nationals who have visited Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt at any time in the last 14 days will be denied entry into Canada, the government announced Tuesday afternoon.

The three nations join South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini as countries already subject to Canadian travel restrictions due to concerns over the Omicron variant. 

As of Tuesday, there have also been confirmed Omicron cases in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

With files from CTV Calgary's Jordan Kanygin