The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed three more cases of COVID-19 with the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 lineage, that is, the Omicron variant, in Nigeria.
The new development brings the total number of confirmed cases of Omicron variant detected in the country to six.
According to a statement signed by the Director-General, NCDC, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, all the Omicron cases so far detected were in persons with recent travel history to South Africa.
It said the agency, through the 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.
The statement said the process will include sequencing of positive samples from international travellers from October 2021 to date.
It added that so far, the Delta variant remains the dominant variant in the country, adding that there is currently no evidence of generalised or community transmission of the Omicron variant in Nigeria.
“However, the NCDC will continue coordinating and implementing genomic surveillance activities in-country to keep Nigerians reliably informed about existing variants, the Omicron and, indeed, other variants that may arise based on national data and emerging global evidence.
“In line with Article 44 of the International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR) reporting framework, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the NCDC, has also been notified by the United Kingdom government of seven cases of travellers from Nigeria with the Omicron variant.
“Given the reports of increasing numbers of Omicron cases in the UK, the NCDC is also prioritising the sequencing of COVID-19 positive samples in travellers with a history of travel to the UK,” it said.
The agency and Federal Ministry of Health, therefore, urged members of the public to continue to take personal and collective responsibility to ensure the safety of all Nigerians.
“Compliance with the travel protocols provided by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC-COVID-19) is mandatory for all international travellers arriving in Nigeria from any country.
“Incoming travellers should ensure their day 2 and day 7 tests are done as stipulated in Nigeria’s travel advisory. Otherwise, there will be consequences for defaulters which may include publication of their details, suspension of their passports and ban on travel to Nigeria by the PSC-COVID-19,” it added.