Omicron Variant: It’s Here With Us: NCDC

Confirms Three Cases

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has confirmed not only the first case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, it says the country has three confirmed cases.

The NCDC made the disclosure in a confirmation statement on Wednesday while addressing the issue of whether or not the variant, also referred to as the B.1.1.529 is in the country.

According to the statement, NCDC, pointed out that two samples obtained for the stipulated day-2 test for all travellers to Nigeria were positive for this variant in three persons with a history of travel to South Africa.

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

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 country where travel originated according to the provisions of the International Health Regulations,” it said.

The NCDC added that there is need for Nigerians to adhere to all known preventive measures taken into account the seeming speed with which more countries are reporting incidences of the 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 already,” the NCDC added.

Given the risk of increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant, it is essential to curb community transmission and recommends that States ensure sample collection and testing remain widely accessible, so that people who have symptoms or have been exposed to a positive case get tested quickly in healthcare and other settings, through increased COVID-19 testing using approved antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) that are being rolled out by the NCDC and partners as well as PCR-tests where applicable and Vaccination which also reduces community transmission and States should effectively implement ongoing mass vaccination campaigns and encourage citizens to make use of every available opportunity to get vaccination.”

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