The Federal Government on Sunday night reassured Nigerians that the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, has not been detected in Nigeria.
The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, in a press statement explained that the NCDC was prioritising sequencing of recently accrued samples from SARS-COV-2 positive travellers from all countries, especially those from countries that have reported the Omicron variant already.
To beat the Omicron variant, Adetifa tasked all states to ensure that sample collection and testing are accessible, to enable travellers and people with symptoms or who have been exposed to COVID-19 cases to get tested promptly.
According to him, a total of 126 genomes of this variant have been detected globally but no deaths had been attributed to the new variant yet.
He explained that with the high number of mutations present in the Omicron variant and the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases observed in South Africa, the virus was considered highly transmissible and may also present an increased risk of reinfection compared to other VOCs.
The DG, however, stated that the fears about its ability to evade protective immune responses and being vaccine-resistant are only theoretical, noting that the virus can still be detected with existing Polymerase Chain Reaction (P”CR) tests.
He urged the populace to make every use of the currently available opportunities to get vaccinated against COVID-19, adhere to public health and social measures that have been proven to help prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection regardless of the circulating variant.
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