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Covid-19: Nigeria records 3 new cases of Omicron variant

Nigeria on Tuesday, recorded three additional cases of the Omicron variant, according to the  Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) .

The new cases bring the total of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus in Nigeria to six.

The World Health Organization, WHO, had designated the novel variant of concern due to its increased transmissibility and risk of re-infection.

The NCDC in the statement signed by the Director-General, Ifedayo Adetifa further explained that the three additional cases were detected in passengers linked to South Africa in November.

The statement reads, “The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has confirmed three more cases of COVID-19 with the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 lineage, i.e., the Omicron variant, in Nigeria.

“In addition to the three cases announced earlier on 1st December 2021, this brings the total number of confirmed cases of the Omicron variant detected in Nigeria to six. All the Omicron cases so far were detected in persons with recent travel history to South Africa in November.

“The NCDC through the National Reference Laboratory continues to coordinate genomic surveillance activities across the country to sequence all positive COVID-19 samples from international travellers arriving in Nigeria. This includes sequencing of positive samples from international travellers from October 2021 to date.

“The Delta variant remains the dominant variant and so far, we have not seen the replacement of this variant by the new Omicron variant as observed elsewhere.”

“The Omicron variant is 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.

“Taken together, and if true, the Omicron variant can significantly change the current global COVID-19 epidemiology. There is currently no evidence of generalised or community transmission of this variant in Nigeria. 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”.

Editing by Tina Oyinsan