No case of new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, in Nigeria yet – NCDC



Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has said that no any case of Omicron, the new variant of Corona Virus, was detected in the country.

Omicron is a recently identified and named by the World Health Organization, WHO.

It was first identified from a testing done on travelers from West Africa November 9 in Botswana.

Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, the director of NCDC who stated this in a statement he issued on Sunday said the federal ministry of health and NCDC are monitoring emerging evidence on this new variant and its implication, to inform Nigeria’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘The variant was first identified from testing done on 9th November 2021 in Botswana on travellers from West Africa. It was reported to WHO on identification of cases among a cluster of young unvaccinated people in South Africa on 24 November 2021.

‘While this variant has so far not been detected in Nigeria, a number of cases have now been reported in the UK, Israel, Botswana, Hong-Kong, Germany, Belgium, Italy and counting.

‘However, no deaths have been attributed to this new variant yet. A total of 126 genomes of this variant have been detected globally and published on GISAID, (GISAID is a global mechanism for sharing sequencing data).

‘Given the high number of mutations present in this Omicron variant and the exponential rise in Covid 19 cases observed in South Africa, this virus is considered highly transmissible and may also present an increased risk of reinfection compared to other VOCs.

‘However, the fears about its ability to evade protective immune responses and/or its being vaccine resistant are only theoretical so far. This virus can still be detected with existing Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests.

‘The WHO and researchers across the world are working at speed to gain understanding of the likely impact of this variant on the severity of Covid 19 and on the potency of existing vaccines and therapeutics,’ he explained.

Dr. Adetifa added that the center will ensure daily review of surveillance data and use it to inform public health decision making.

He urged all states across the country to ensure that sample collection and testing are accessible, so that travelers, people with symptoms or who have been exposed to Covid-19 cases get tested promptly.

‘In collaboration with Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health, enhanced surveillance is ongoing at the airports and points of entry, and to ensure compliance with current travel guidance especially for the day 2 COVID-19 PCR testing. Should there be any changes to travel guidance, this will be communicated in due course.

‘Considering the highly likely increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant and its emergence that is linked to unmitigated community transmission of the virus, the NCDC urges Nigerians to ensure strict adherence to the proven public health and social measures in place, which are enforceable by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC-COVID-19), through the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021,’ he said.

He also called on Nigerians to make every use of the currently available opportunities to get vaccinated against the virus and adhere to public health measure, among other things.

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