The NCDC has said there is no case of the COVID-19 Omicron Variant in Nigeria.
The Nigeria Center for Disease Control also said that they are monitoring the situation of the virus with the Federal Ministry of Health.
The Director-General, Ifedayo Adetifa made this known in a statement released on Monday.
Adetifa released this statement after the Canada Government announced two cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant from recent travellers to Nigeria.
The NCDC claimed that the variant was first identified in travellers coming from West Africa. This claim suggested West African travellers imported the virus to South Africa.
Also, there is substantial proof to the claims that the variant is resistant to vaccines.
The statement reads in part:
“The FMOH 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 the identification of cases among a cluster of young unvaccinated people in South Africa on 24 November 2021.
The NCDC noted that the variant has been detected in the following countries except Nigeria. The countries are:
- Hong Kong
Other countries have been on the lookout for this strain.
The statement continued:
“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 tests.
“The WHO and researchers across the world are working at speed to gain an understanding of the likely impact of this variant on the severity of COVID-19 and on the potency of existing vaccines and therapeutics.”
The NCDC advised that ease of sample collection be implemented to test travellers. The disease control unit said that this would assist travellers with symptoms to get tested fast.
Also, Nigerians were advised to adhere to all public health protocols to reduce the spread of the disease.
“The NCDC continues to ensure daily review of surveillance data and uses this to inform public health decision making. Therefore, we urge all states to ensure that sample collection and testing are accessible. So that travellers, people with symptoms, or who have been exposed to COVID-19 cases get tested promptly.
“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, through the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021,” the statement added.
Source: PUNCH HealthWise