The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on Wednesday, December 1, confirmed the first case of Omicron variant in Nigeria.
NCDC Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, in a statement said in line with the routine travel test required of all international travellers and Genomic sequencing at the NCDC through Its National Reference Laboratory (NRL), Abuja, confirmed Nigeria’s first case of the Omicron variant, also known as the B.1.1.529 lineage.
The Omicron variant, a new strain of the coronavirus disease, was reported by South Africa and first detected in Botswana.
According to the statement, “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.”
The NCDC, however, added that the two patients were asymptomatic and contact tracing had begun.
Meanwhile, a panel of US health advisers narrowly backed a closely watched COVID-19 pill from Merck which could lead to authorisation later this week.
Scientists have been scrambling to learn more about the effects of the Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa last week.
It remains unclear where or when the variant first emerged. But nations have rushed to impose travel restrictions, especially on visitors coming from Southern Africa, despite the World Health Organization’s call for “rational” measures in response to the new strain.