The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has confirmed the first case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the country.
Director-General of the agency, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa in a statement disclosed that two cases of the variant were discovered through genomic sequencing. He also linked the cases to two passengers from South Africa.
Omicron variant, a new strain of the coronavirus disease, was reported by South Africa and first detected in Botswana.
Following the discovery, countries such as the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Israel among others placed travel bans on Southern African countries.
Similarly, the government of Canada had also stated that it discovered two cases of the variant from two passengers from Nigeria. The Federal Government through the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, however, said that it was investigating the issue to get more details.
However, the NCDC on Wednesday morning said two cases of the variant were discovered through genomic sequencing. It also linked the cases to two passengers from South Africa.
“In line with the routine travel tests required of all international travelers, genomic sequencing at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control through its National Reference Laboratory, Abuja, confirms Nigeria’s first case of the Omicron variant.
“Genomic sequencing of positive cases from routine day-two testing for travelers to Nigeria identified two cases of Omicron variant among travelers 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 the past week,” said the NCDC.