Eletiofe3 cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant have been found...

3 cases of Omicron COVID-19 variant have been found in Nigeria

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The cases were recent arrivals in the country in the past week.

COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria [Instagram/NCDC]

Nigeria has now reported three cases of the Omicron COVID-19 virus–the strain that is currently a source of concern across the world.

A statement from the Director-General of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Ifedayo Adetifa, details that a “genomic surveillance has now identified and confirmed Nigeria’s first cases of the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 lineage, now known as the Omicron variant.”

The statement adds that: “The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control conducts case and genomic surveillance for inbound international travelers arriving in the country at its National Reference Laboratory, Abuja and a network of other testing laboratories.

“Sequencing of samples from COVID-19 positive inbound travelers is currently conducted in laboratories with sequencing capacity in the country and all the sequencing data are shared in publicly accessible databases.

“Samples obtained for the stipulated day two test for all travelers to Nigeria were positive for this variant in three persons with a history of travel to South Africa.

“These cases were recent arrivals in the country in the past week. Follow up to ensure isolation, linkage to clinical care, contact tracing and other relevant response activities have commenced.

“Arrangements are also being made to notify the country where travel originated according to the provisions of the International Health Regulations.

“The NCDC assumes Omicron is widespread globally given the increasing number of countries reporting this variant.

“Therefore, it is a matter of when, not if, we will identify more cases. We continue to expand our sequencing capacity in-country at the NCDC-NRL, through our network of public health laboratories and other partners.

“Our focus is to complete sequencing of recently accrued samples of SARS-COV-2 positive travelers from all countries, especially those from countries that have reported the Omicron variant.”

Canada has also reported that the Omicron variant has been detected in some travelers from Nigeria.

Nigeria has reported over 214,000 COVID-19 cases and close to 3,000 COVID-19 related deaths as of the time of reporting.

Close to 7 million people have received at least a dose of available COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria, with more than 3 million being fully vaccinated, as of December 1, 2021.

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