The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has stated that so far, there has been no detection of the new Covid variant, “Omicron” in Nigeria.
The Nigerian health agency confirmed this in a press statement issued to create awareness regarding the new variant designated with the label B.1.1.529, its composition, and what the risks are.
It said that the WHO has advised countries to enhance their surveillance and virus sequencing efforts to increase their understanding of the circulating variants.
What the NCDC is saying
The NCDC confirmed in the press release that while the variant has been discovered in some parts of the world including in UK, Israel, Botswana, Hong Kong, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and others, no case has been identified in Nigeria.
The statement reads, “The variant was first identified from testing done on 9th November 2021 in Botswana on travelers 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. 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.”
Furthermore, the agency notes that it will continue to ensure the daily review of surveillance data and use this to inform public health decision-making. It states that there will be a prioritizing sequencing of recently accrued samples from SARS-COV-2 positive travelers that came into the country, especially those from countries who have reported the Omicron variant.
In addition, there will be enhanced surveillance at the airports and at all points of entry into the country, in a bid to ensure compliance with current travel guidance especially for the day 2 COVID-19 PCR testing.
Conclusively, the NCDC has urged Nigerians to get vaccinated against Covid-19, adhere to public health and social measures proven to help prevent infection. They are also urged to avoid non-essential travel, both local and international, and if at all one must travel, they are advised to avoid regions and areas where surges in infection rates have been reported.