Coronavirus

NCDC Confirms increase rate of COVID-19 Delta variant in Nigeria

todayJuly 9, 2021 1

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, has confirmed a case with the highly transmissible COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) Delta variant, also known as lineage B.1.617.2.

The Head of Communications, NCDC, Dr Yahya Disu, who exposed the development in a statement on July 8, said the variant was detected in a traveler to Nigeria, following the routine travel test required of all international travelers and genomic sequencing at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja.

According to Dr Yahya, the Delta variant is recognised by the World Health Organisation, WHO, as a variant of concern, given its increased transmissibility.

He said the variant which has been detected in over 90 countries is expected to spread to more countries has also been linked to a surge in cases in countries where it is the dominant strain in circulation even as there are ongoing studies to understand the impact of the variant on existing vaccines and therapeutics.

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 NCDC spokesman said given the global risk of spread of the Delta variant, positive samples from international travelers to Nigeria are sequenced regularly.

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 are increase in cases associated with 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 rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.”

Dr Yahya stated that given the high transmissibility of the Delta variant and following its detection in Nigeria, the NCDC urges all Nigerians to ensure strict adherence to public health and social measures in place.
Proven public health and social measures such as physical distancing, frequent handwashing, and proper use of face masks, prevent infections and save lives.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and offers protection against the disease. Additionally, states are urged to ensure sample collection and testing for COVID-19 is accessible to the public.

“Public settings such as schools with accommodation facilities, workplaces and camps should utilise the approved Antigen-based Rapid Diagnostic Test” he concluded.

Written by: Busayo Babs

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