The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, has said that 4 Nigerians had tested positive for the highly contagious new UK Covid-19 strain.
According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure was made by Ihekweazu at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, in Abuja on Monday, January 25, 2021.
While noting that the discovery of the new strain of Covid-19 in the country was not a surprise due to the frequency of travel between Nigeria and the UK, the NCDC boss stated that those that tested positive included 3 Nigerians who had travelled out of the country, while one was in the country.
What the NCDC Director-General is saying
Ihekweazu in his statement, said, “In the last week, we have had three reports of the UK variant of interest, the B117 strain found in individuals that have left Nigeria to two other countries.
“When they were tested, this strain was found in them within a week of returning to Nigeria. This was reported to us through the international health regulations and it is most likely this strain was acquired in Nigeria.
“With our partners, the African Centre for Excellence in Genomics in Ede, we sent 50 samples to them and one of those samples had the UK variant linked to increased transmission.”
He said that the NCDC would keep intensifying its genomics surveillance and genomics sequencing, in collaboration with its partners, as closing our airports to international flights would not achieve much, so long as the virus was still ravaging in other countries.
He disclosed that the NCDC had rolled out rapid diagnostic test kits, which were used at the National Youth Service Orientation camps, adding that 22,119 individuals had been tested, with 765 confirmed cases, using the RTDs in every state, except Kogi.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that following the second wave of the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, the UK government warned of a new strain of the disease which spreads faster and may be out of control.
- The UK scientists warned that the new variant carries mutations that could infect more children as it spreads, unlike the previous strains.
- The Federal Government had about a month ago said that the new mutant strain of the coronavirus disease in the UK had not yet been discovered in Nigeria.