Nigeria is on high alert as three people in the country have tested positive to the newly identified coronavirus variant, Omicron.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced this in a statement signed by the Director-General, Ifedayo Adetifa, on Wednesday morning.
Adetifa stated that the agency had conducted case and genomic surveillance for inbound international travellers arriving in the country at its National Reference Laboratory (NRL) in Abuja, and a network of other testing laboratories.
He stated that sequencing of samples from COVID-19 positive inbound travellers was conducted in laboratories with sequencing capacity in the country while all the sequencing data were shared in publicly accessible databases.
“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,” the NCDC boss said. “Samples obtained for the stipulated day two test for all travellers to Nigeria were positive for this variant in three persons with a 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 development comes after Canada said it detected two cases of the variant from Nigerian travellers.
On Monday the Canadian government announced that it detected cases of the Omicron variant from two travellers from Nigeria.