The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed three (3) more cases of COVID-19 with the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 lineage, i.e., the Omicron variant, in Nigeria.
NCDC disclosed this in a press statement signed by its Director General, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa on Tuesday, December 7, 2021.
TheFact Nigeria gathered that many still believed the covid-19 report was a myth, hence the lackadaisical attitude towards vaccination and non pharmaceutical measures of preventing the disease.
The three new cases were in addition to the previous three announced on December 1, 2021, this brings the total number of confirmed cases of the Omicron variant detected in Nigeria to six (6).
According to the statement, all the Omicron cases so far were detected in persons with recent travel history to South Africa in November.
It assured that the NCDC through the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) will continue to coordinate genomic surveillance activities across the country to sequence all positive COVID-19 samples from international travellers arriving in Nigeria.
Adetifa stated that the Omicron variant was 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.
Therefore if true, the Omicron variant could significantly change the current global COVID-19 epidemiology, he added.
Soothingly, the NCDC Boss has disclosed that there was currently no evidence of generalised or community transmission of Omicron in the country and guaranteed his Organisation’s swift response as the case may be. He said:
“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.
“In line with Article 44 of the International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR) reporting
framework, the Federal Government of Nigeria through the NCDC has also been notified by the UK Government of seven (7) cases of travellers from Nigeria with the Omicron variant. Given the reports of increasing numbers of Omicron cases in the UK, the NCDC is also prioritising the sequencing of COVID-19 positive samples in travellers with history of travel to the UK”, he said.
Speaking further on the need to observe the necessary preventive measures, to avoid continous mutation and spread of the virus, Adetifa said:
“All viruses naturally mutate over time, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Since SARS-CoV-2 was first identified, several mutations have occurred with the emergence of new lineages.
“This will continue to happen as long as the world does not act in concert to significantly reduce transmission through vaccination and adherence to effective public health measures such as mask use, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and ensuring good ventilation.
“The NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health urges members of the public to continue to take personal and collective responsibility to ensure the safety of all Nigerians.
“Compliance with the travel protocols provided by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC-COVID-19) is mandatory for all international travellers arriving in Nigeria from any country”, he added.