Three cases of the deadly variant of COVID-19, popularly known as Omicron have been confirmed in Nigeria.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) made the confirmationin a statement in Abuja, on Wednesday morning.
All the patients, the NCDC said, were having the variant were asymptomatic and contact tracing had begun.
“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 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. 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 travelers from all countries, especially those from countries that have reported the Omicron variant already,” the NCDC explained.
The NCDC, therefore, said that: “Given the highly likely increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant, it is imperative to put in place measures to curb community transmission.
“The NCDC recommends that States 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.
“States should encourage the use of the Approved Antigen based Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) for rapid testing of the population in public settings such as schools with accommodation facilities, workplaces, and camps.”
The NCDC, therefore, warned that the virus is more likely to spread where people gather and do not adhere to Public health measures.
“Interrupting transmission of the virus remains our best bet and we can only achieve this through vaccination and adherence to the proven safety measures such as wearing facemasks, regular and washing and physical distancing.
“We appeal to business owners, religious leaders, and people in authority to take responsibility by ensuring people in their premises adhere to these measures.
“We strongly urge Nigerians to only share information from
Trusted sources including NCDC and the Federal Ministry of Health.
“Our safety as a country depends on our collective responsibility,” the NCDC said.