The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control NCDC, has confirmed two cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant in the country.
This was contained in a press release issued by the centre and signed by the Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa.
The 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 Omicron 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.
Canadian authorities have since issued a travel ban on Nigeria in a bid to curb the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant. The announcement was made on Tuesday December 30. Other countries affected by the travel ban include South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt.
However, the NCDC on Wednesday morning said two cases of the variant were discovered through genomic sequencing. It albeit linked the cases to two passengers from South Africa.
The statement reads in part, “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 October 2021”.
The NCDC however added that the two patients were asymptomatic and contact tracing had begun.