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Nigerian govt confirms three cases of Omicron variant

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Wednesday confirmed three cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

The Omicron variant also known as the B.1.1.529 lineage, was confirmed in travellers from South Africa who arrived in Nigeria on a day the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa, arrived in the country on an official visit.

The Director-General of NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adefila, who disclosed the development, said in line with the routine travel test required of all international travellers and genomic sequencing at the NCDC, the agency confirmed the first Omicron variant in the country.

According to him, samples obtained for the stipulated day two test for all travellers to Nigeria were positive for the variant in three persons with a history of travel to South Africa.

He said the follow-up to ensure isolation, linkage to clinical care, contact tracing and other relevant response activities had commenced, noting that arrangements were also being made to notify the country where travellers originated according to the provisions of International Health Regulations, IHR.

Read also: Despite Omicron breakout, NCDC frowns at travel ban among countries

The NCDC boss said given the increasing number of countries reporting the variant, it was a matter of when, not if, more cases would be identified in the country.

He said: “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 travellers from all countries, especially those from countries that have reported the Omicron variant already.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Government on Wednesday began the enforcement of its compulsory vaccination policy for its employees, barring them from accessing their workplaces without proof of vaccination.

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