The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, (NCDC) says no person in Nigeria has died of COVID-19 with the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 lineage, the Omicron variant in the country, as the variant surges across the country.
The NCDC director-general, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja yesterday.
Data from the African Union (AU) shows that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly across the African continent.
AU’s Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said as of Thursday, 22 countries had reported the presence of the Omicron variant.
“We can see clearly that Omicron is spreading very quickly,” said John Nkengasong of the CDC.
Around a month after South Africa first discovered the more infectious variant, it has now been detected as far as Egypt, Togo, Morocco, Kenya, Mauritius and Burkina Faso.
Nkengasong said there were grounds for optimism, pointing to initial findings from South Africa that Omicron posed up to 80 per cent less risk of severe disease compared to the Delta variant.
However, he cautioned against applying these early findings to other countries.
Across Africa, 253,000 new coronavirus infections were recorded last week, a 21 per cent increase on the previous week.
Adetifa noted that Omicron has raised the number of confirmed cases in the country to 500 per cent, and now has become the dominant variants in the country.
The NCDC said the country had now identified a further 45 cases of the Omicron variant, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 51.
He added that the 45 were not cases from travel history, rather they are in the country, which suggests that the country is already experiencing a community transmission.
He said the six earlier detected cases were detected in persons with recent travel history to South Africa.
Adetifa stressed that it was important for Nigerians to maintain physical distancing and avoid contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness.
Adetifa stressed that Nigerians should take the advisory issued by the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, adding that it would greatly reduce the effectiveness of such interventions and make it is less likely that these would prevent considerable pressure on health and care settings.
Meanwhile, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), is insisting that the national booster campaign remains the main tool in the country’s arsenal for curbing the spread of Omicron.