The Federal Government says the new coronavirus variant,Omicron was not in Nigeria yet.
This claim is coming on the heels of the confirmation by Canada that it has detected its first cases of the new Omicron strain of Covid in two people who had travelled recently to Nigeria.
The government of Ontario confirmed that the two cases are in the capital, Ottawa.
Federal and Ontario provincial officials said both patients are in isolation while public health authorities trace their possible contacts.
The Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said in a statement, “I was informed today by the Public Health Agency of Canada that testing and monitoring of COVID-19 cases has confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of concern in Ontario”.
Responding to the report from Canada, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, stated that the Omicron Variant is yet to be detected in the country, but did not rule out the possibility of it already in circulation.
He added that the centre was monitoring the emerging evidence on the Omicron COVID-19 variant and its implication, to inform Nigeria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that the new variant is considered highly transmissible and has already triggered a new wave of travel restrictions targeted at countries in Southern Africa.
He said, the fears about its ability to evade protective immune responses and it being vaccine-resistant are only theoretical so far.
The DG advised Nigerians to make every use of the currently available opportunities to get vaccinated against COVID-19, while reiterating the need for citizens to adhere to public health and social measures such as the wearing of face masks, hand washing, and physical distancing.
He said it was coordinating genomic surveillance and other activities required for the detection of variants, through the National Reference Laboratory (NRL)
“The NCDC assumes global spread of this variant has occurred and it is prioritising sequencing of recently accrued samples from SARS-COV-2 positive travellers from all countries,especially those from countries that have reported the Omicron variant already”, he added.