By Salim Yunusa
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Thursday said it has confirmed a case of SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, also known as lineage B.1.617.2 in the country.
The variant was detected in a traveller to Nigeria, following the routine travel test required of all international travellers and genomic sequencing at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja.
The Delta variant is recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a variant of concern, given its increased transmissibility.
The variant has been detected in over 90 countries and is expected to spread to more countries.
NCDC explained that the Delta variant has been linked to a surge in cases in countries where it is the dominant strain in circulation, adding that there are ongoing studies to understand the impact of the variant on existing vaccines and therapeutics.
NCDC stressed that given the high transmissibility of the Delta variant and following its detection in Nigeria, it is urging all Nigerians to ensure strict adherence to public health and social measures in place.
“Given the global risk of spread of the Delta variant, positive samples from international travelers to Nigeria are sequenced regularly,” NCDC said.
It noted that the Nigerian Government through the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) has initiated several measures to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 which includes the introduction of travel restrictions from countries where there is a surge in cases associated with the widespread prevalence of variants of concern.
According to the center, “The national travel protocol which includes compulsory seven-day self-isolation and repeat test on the seventh day after arrival, are in place to reduce the risk of spread of the virus. It is very important that this is strictly adhered to, to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.”