By Uche Amunike
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed that Nigeria has joined the league of countries that have registered their first bouts of Omicron Variant cases known as B.1.1.529 lineage.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by the NCDC and signed by the Director General, Ifedayo Adetifa, Wednesday, where he confirmed that the two omicron variants cases where discovered through a process called ‘genomic sequencing’.
It partly read: ‘In line with the routine travel tests required of all international travellers and genomic sequencing at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control through its National Reference Laboratory, Abuja, confirms Nigeria’s first case of the Omicron variant’.
‘Genomic sequencing of positive cases from routine day two testing for travellers to Nigeria identified two cases of Omicron variant among travellers from South Africa who arrived in Nigeria last week’.
‘Retrospective sequencing of previously confirmed cases among travellers to Nigeria also identified the omicron variant among samples collected in October 2021’, the statement said.
This was after Canada confirmed that they detected two Omicron Variant cases from Nigerian travellers.
The NCDC has however said, that they are making efforts to strengthen surveillance in the country and reduce its spread.
Adetifa disclosed in a Channels TV programme, that even though very little is known about the variant, Nigerians should get vaccinated as the best way to fight the pandemic.
So far then NCDC has disclosed that 105 fresh infections and one death have been recorded across eight states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), noting that the country’s death toll from the disease now stands at 2,977.
According to their records, the latest figure of confirmed Omicron Variant cases has just increased to 214,218, while 207,304 people have been treated and discharged.
According to the breakdown of the COVID-19 data, Lagos which is the epicenter of the disease recorded 43 cases; the FCT reported 16 cases; Plateau state 5 cases Rivers State, six cases; Niger state ,10 cases; Edo state, 2 cases; Bauchi and Kano, one case each and Gombe, 21 cases.
Other countries have also identified Omicron Variant cases globally including the USA, West Africa and Asia. The American authorities have indicated that they would tighten border controls over concerns as this new menace may be more transmissible and spread faster.
The World Health Organisation has said that the timeline for the new emergence of the new variant may likely change and global experts hope that they will have better information in a few days on the severity of the disease provoked by Omicron and also, its transmissibility.
The organisation also stated that a part of the reason why the new Covid-19 variant is growing is because of the low vaccination coverage and low testing rates which conveniently creates a fertile breeding ground for the variant.
As it stands many countries have imposed more stringent travel rules that required all air travelers entering the country to show a negative COVID-19 test performed a day before their departure.
Nigeria, however found evidence of Omicron variant cases as early as October which means it might have possibly been circulating weeks earlier than first discovered.