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Nigeria’s West African neighbour Ghana on Wednesday revealed that it had recorded the new Omicron variant, tracing cases to Nigeria and South Africa.
Africa Today News, New York had earlier reported that Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria on Wednesday confirmed its first cases of the new Covid-19 variant, noting that it had been found among three passengers who had travelled to South Africa.
According to reports, cases of Omicron have been detected in numerous countries since the strain was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) in South Africa last week, prompting border closures and travel restrictions.
Nigeria’s announcement came as South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visited Abuja during a West African tour where he called for solidarity against “counter-productive” travel bans.
‘Genomic surveillance has now identified and confirmed Nigeria’s first cases of the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 lineage, now known as the Omicron variant,‘ said the head of Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control, Ifedayo Adetifa.
Contact tracing and ‘follow up to ensure isolation… have commenced,’ Adetifa said.
‘Omicron is widespread globally… Therefore, it is a matter of when not if, we will identify more cases,’ he said.
Ghana’s director-general of health services, Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, said its cases had been detected at Accra’s international airport, mainly coming from South Africa and Nigeria.
‘The good thing is that in the community test done so far, we have not seen any Omicron within the community of Ghana,’ he said at the launch of a vaccine campaign.
‘But the danger is that if someone has the Omicron, and it is incubating, it will not be found at the airport.’
Meanwhile, scientists have revealed that the new variant – called B.1.1.529 – is more deadly and has a ‘very unusual constellation’ of mutations, which are concerning because they could help it evade the body’s immune response and make it more transmissible.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK