NCDC affirms 3 more Omicron variant cases

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said on Tuesday that it has affirmed  three more cases of COVID-19 with the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 lineage, the Omicron variant, in Nigeria.

The three new cases were in addition to the three other cases announced earlier on December 1 brings the total number of confirmed cases of the Omicron variant detected in Nigeria to six.

NCDC in a statement by its Director General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, noted that all the Omicron cases so far were detected in persons with recent travel history to South Africa in November.

He said that NCDC through its National Reference Laboratory (NRL) will continue to coordinate genomic surveillance activities across the country to sequence all positive COVID-19 samples from international travellers arriving in Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Omicron: Travel ban on Nigeria discriminatory says FG

“This includes sequencing of positive samples from international travellers from October 2021 to date. Nevertheless, the Delta variant remains the dominant variant and so far, we have not seen the replacement of this variant by the new Omicron variant as observed elsewhere,” he said.

He maintained that the Omicron variant is the source of global concern because of its increased risk of transmissibility and its potential to escape protective immune responses induced by natural infection and/or vaccination.

“Taken together, and if true, the Omicron variant can significantly change the current global COVID-19 epidemiology. There is currently no evidence of generalised or community transmission of this variant in Nigeria.”

He said that NCDC, with the support of relevant stakeholders, will continue to coordinate and implement genomic surveillance activities in-country to keep Nigerians reliably informed about existing variants, the Omicron and other variants that may arise based on national data and emerging global evidence.

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