The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed three cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in Nigeria.
The agency announced this in a statement signed by the Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa.
NCDC had initially announced two cases of said the variant also known as lineage B.1.1.529 was detected in three persons with history of travel to South Africa.
“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 travelers to Nigeria were positive for this variant in three persons with 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 country where travel originated according to the provisions of the International Health Regulations,” the statement said.
NCDC said it conducts case and genomic surveillance for inbound international travelers arriving in the country at its National Reference Laboratory (NRL), Abuja and network of other testing laboratories.
“Sequencing of samples from COVID-19 positive inbound travelers is currently conducted in laboratories with sequencing capacity in the country and all the sequencing data are shared in publicly accessible databases,” it said.
“The 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.”
NCDC said it would continue to expand sequencing capacity in-country at the NCDC-NRL, through our network of public health laboratories and other partners.
While saying the Federal Ministry of Health through the NCDC has intensified public health response measures to COVID-19 in Nigeria since reports of the emergence of this Omicron variant, it advised states to 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.