Nigeria discovered the first case of Omicron coronavirus mutant in a traveler arriving from South Africa last week, the national public health institute said Wednesday, in a sample taken in October that modified the previous statement that the mutant was found.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of Nigeria said in a second statement that the October sample detected a delta variant, not Omicron as mentioned above. The Omicron variant was first detected in three travelers arriving in the country last week.
“The sample obtained on the second day mandatory test for all travelers to Nigeria was positive for this mutation in three people who had traveled to South Africa, Nigeria said in a second statement said Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa said in the second statement.
Nigeria is the first country in West Africa to register varieties of Omicron since its discovery and report by scientists in southern Africa. Few people remained unknown about the new variant, if it is more contagious, as some health officials suspect, whether it makes people sicker, and whether it could hinder vaccines.
Nigeria’s CDC has urged states across the country and the public to remain vigilant and call for improved testing, fearing that Nigeria’s low testing capacity will become the biggest challenge in the face of the new mutant variant.
Tests for the virus are very low in many states and even in the national capital, Abuja. According to Musa Ahmed, a public health official, in areas of Kuje, on the outskirts of Abuja, no one has been tested for the virus for weeks.
The discovery of the omicron variant in Africa’s most populous country, with a population of 206 million, coincides with Nigeria’s new requirement that all federal government employees be vaccinated or have a negative COVID19 test result made within the last 72 hours.
With the vaccination authorization going into effect on Wednesday, there were chaotic scenes at several offices in the national capital as officials without vaccination cards or negative PCR tests were denied by the authorities.
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