The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Thursday confirmed a case of the COVID-19 variant, Delta variant, considered by experts to be highly transmissible.
Disclosing the development, the Head of Communications, NCDC, Dr Yahya Disu, said the variant was detected in a traveller to Nigeria, following the routine travel test required of all international travellers and genomic sequencing at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja.
According to him, “As part of Nigeria’s COVID-19 response, NCDC has been working with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, NIMR, African Centre for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, ACEGID, and other laboratories within the national network, to carry out genomic sequencing.
“This is to enable the detection of variants of concern, and initiate response activities. All data on variants from Nigeria have been published on GISAID, a global mechanism for sharing sequencing data.”
“The Government of Nigeria through the Presidential Steering Committee, PSC, has initiated several measures to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19. This includes the introduction of travel restrictions from countries where there is a surge in cases associated with the widespread prevalence of variants of concern.
“The national travel protocol which includes compulsory seven-day self-isolation and repeat test on the seventh day after arrival, are in place to reduce the risk of spread of the virus. It is very important that this is strictly adhered to, to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, reminded Nigerians of precautions saying: “Although we have seen a low number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria in the last eight weeks, it is incredibly important that we do not forget to be careful. The surge in cases in countries across the world and Africa is an important reminder of the risk we face.
“Please protect yourselves and the people you love by adhering to the known public health and social measures, getting vaccinated if you are eligible and getting tested if you have symptoms”.