Nigeria confirms cases of Omicron in passengers from South Africa
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed the first cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus in the country.
Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja, said that two cases of the variant were discovered through genomic sequencing and linked the cases to two passengers from South Africa.
He observed that the two patients were asymptomatic and contact tracing had begun.
“In line with the routine travel tests required of all international travellers and genomic sequencing at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control through its National Reference Laboratory, Abuja, confirms Nigeria’s first case of the Omicron variant,” Adetifa said.
“Genomic sequencing of positive cases from routine day two testing for travellers to Nigeria identified two cases of Omicron variant among travellers from South Africa who arrived in Nigeria last week. Retrospective sequencing of previously confirmed cases among travelers to Nigeria also identified the omicron variant among samples collected in October 2021”.
Omicron variant, a new strain of the coronavirus disease, was reported by South Africa and first detected in Botswana.
It has appeared in well over a dozen countries, stoking global fears about a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than five million people and savaged economies worldwide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified Omicron as a variant of concern.
Canada on Tuesday banned travellers from Egypt, Nigeria and Malawi over fears of the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, bringing to 10 the number of African countries targeted by Ottawa.