NCDC Confirms Three Cases Of Omicron Variant In Nigeria
This was contained in a press release issued by the centre and signed by the Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa.
Omicron variant, a new strain of the coronavirus disease, was first reported by South Africa and then detected in Botswana.
Following the discovery, countries such as the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Israel among others placed travel bans on southern African countries.
Similarly, the government of Canada had also stated that it discovered two cases of the variant from two passengers from Nigeria.
Federal Government through the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, however, said that it was investigating the issue to get more details.
However, the NCDC on Wednesday morning said two cases of the variant were discovered through genomic sequencing. It albeit linked the cases to two passengers from South Africa.
Then in an update later, it said that the cases of the Omicron variant are now three.
The statement reads in part;
In line with the routine travel tests required of all international travellers, 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.
NCDC however added that the two patients were asymptomatic and contact tracing had begun.
In an update, a statement signed by the Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, partly reads;
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control conducts case and genomic surveillance for inbound international travellers arriving in the country at its National Reference Laboratory, Abuja and a network of other testing laboratories. 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.
This genomic surveillance has now identified and confirmed Nigeria’s first cases of the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 lineage, now known as the Omicron variant. Samples obtained for the stipulated day two test for all travellers to Nigeria were positive for this variant in three persons with a history of travel to South Africa.
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 the country where travel originated according to the provisions of the International Health Regulations.
NCDC assumes Omicron is widespread globally given the increasing number of countries reporting this 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.