The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced the detection of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in Nigeria.
A statement by the NCDC Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, in the early hours of Wednesday, the variant was detected in two Nigerians who arrived in the country last week.
The Omicron variant, a new strain of the coronavirus 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 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.
But the NCDC said the two cases of the variant were discovered through genomic sequencing.
“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 travelers to Nigeria also identified the omicron variant among samples collected in October 2021,” the statement said.
The NCDC, however, said that the two patients were asymptomatic, adding that contact tracing had begun.