2020 is an unforgettable year in human history. The world suffered a pandemic due to COVID 19. The virus changed living as we knew it, and just when it seemed normalcy was being restored, the Omicron variant of COVID-19 came knocking.
Viruses are known to naturally mutate over time. This new variant of COVID-19 is reported to be deadlier and with a higher fatality chance. Unfortunately, persons infected by this deadly virus have been spotted in Nigeria.
Omicron Variant in Nigeria
On December 1st, three persons were reported to have tested positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Our woes continue as The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed three additional cases of Omicron.
These new cases were revealed in a statement on Tuesday. Consequently, the total number of confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in Nigeria is six.
From the issued statements, so far, all six Omicron cases were detected in individuals with travel history to South Africa in recent times, especially in November.
Furthermore, in collaboration with the National Reference Laboratory (NRL), the NCDC continues to organise genomic surveillance actions throughout the country. This is aimed at tracking all positive COVID-19 samples from people flying into the country from foreign countries.
So far, in Nigeria, the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to be dominant. Unlike some other places, the Omicron variant is yet to displace the Delta variant of the deadly virus.
Nevertheless, the NCDC states that it has been informed by the UK Government that seven travellers from Nigeria have tested positive for the Omicron variant. Due to this notification, the NCDC will be prioritizing the testing of all International Travelers with recent travel history to the UK.
According to the released statement by the NDCD;
“The Omicron variant is a source of global concern because of its increased risk of transmissibility and its potential to escape protective immune responses induced by natural infection and/or vaccination.
Taken together, and if true, the Omicron variant can significantly change the current global COVID-19 epidemiology. There is currently no evidence of generalized or community transmission of this variant in Nigeria. However, the NCDC will continue coordinating and implementing genomic surveillance activities in-country to keep Nigerians reliably informed about existing variants, the Omicron and indeed other variants that may arise based on national data and emerging global evidence”.
With the confirmed cases in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, urge Nigerians and all members of the public to seriously adhere to safety measures. Maintaining social distance, wearing a mask, good ventilation and washing one’s hands regularly should be practised religiously.
Finally, all International travellers were warned to strictly abide by the travel protocols. Failure to comply will attract repercussions.
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