The Canadian government has banned travellers from Nigeria and nine other African countries over concerns about the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
The country earlier announced a ban on South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Namibia.
In a statement on Tuesday, it said it was expanding the travel ban to Egypt, Nigeria, and Malawi.
“On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization classified B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern called Omicron. Since then it has been found in a number of countries and regions, including the confirmation of several travel-related cases in Canada,” the statement reads.
”That is why today, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, and the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, announced additional border measures to reduce the risk of the importation and transmission of COVID-19 and its variants in Canada related to international travel.
“Based on data from ongoing surveillance efforts and the latest public health advice, the Government of Canada is expanding the list of countries with entry prohibitions originally announced on November 26, 2021, to include Egypt, Nigeria and Malawi.
“Effective tomorrow, foreign nationals who have been in any of these countries within the previous 14 days will not be permitted entry into Canada: Botswana, Egypt, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe.”
Canada had on Sunday detected its first cases of the Omicron variant in individuals who had ”recently travelled to Nigeria”.
On Wednesday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease and Control (NCDC) announced that the first cases of Omicron variant had been detected in the country.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) designated Omicron as a “variant of concern”, calling on global leaders to take action to contain its spread.