By Ononye VC
Nigeria has confirmed its first cases of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant as countries across the globe tighten restrictions on international travel in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said two cases of the new mutation were detected among two travellers who arrived from South Africa last week.
The statement reads in part: “In line with the routine travel tests required of all international travellers and 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 travellers to Nigeria identified two cases of Omicron variant among travellers from South Africa who arrived in Nigeria last week.
“Retrospective sequencing of previously confirmed cases among travellers to Nigeria also identified the omicron variant among samples collected in October 2021.”
This is coming as Canada has banned flights from Nigeria after detecting the variant from two Nigerians who arrived in the country
It remains unclear where or when the variant first emerged. But nations have rushed to impose travel restrictions, especially on visitors coming from Southern Africa, despite the World Health Organization’s call for “rational” measures in response to the new strain.