The President Buhari-led administration has insisted that Nigeria is yet to record any case of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19.
This is coming few days after Canadian authorities’ claimed that two passengers from Nigeria had tested positive.
This was made known on Monday by Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Ifedayo Adetifa, while speaking at the Presidential Steering Committee briefing in Abuja. He warned that there was no need to give in to speculations.
“I do not encourage citizens to waste energy on speculating,” he said.
“I think what we need to do is to focus on what we actually know. And what we know, for now, is that we do not have a case in Nigeria at the moment.
“Now, we have a pipeline of samples that are in process, whose results will be ready tomorrow; so this situation, of course, can change.”
Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said authorities were “adopting a watchful, waiting posture.”
Canada had recently said it discovered its first cases of the new Omicron strain of Covid in two people who had travelled recently to Nigeria.
The government of Ontario said on Sunday that the two cases are in the capital, Ottawa.
Federal and Ontario provincial officials said both patients were in isolation while public health authorities trace their possible contacts, Punch reports.
“I was informed today by the Public Health Agency of Canada that testing and monitoring of COVID-19 cases has confirmed two cases of the Omicron variant of concern in Ontario,” Health Minister, Jean-Yves Duclos, said in a statement.
“As the monitoring and testing continue, it is expected that other cases of this variant will be found in Canada,” he was quoted as saying by France24.com.
Dr Adetifa added in a statement on Sunday that the NCDC was prioritising sequencing of recently accrued samples from SARS-COV-2 positive travellers from all countries, especially those from countries that have reported the Omicron variant already.
Virologists have faulted the decision of the Nigerian Government not to test the South African delegates on their arrival in the country on Monday despite the newly discovered strain of the coronavirus in Southern Africa.
The World Health Organisation has listed Omicron as a “variant of concern” and countries around the world are now banning travel from southern Africa, where the new strain was first detected and taking other new precautions.
The WHO stated it could take several weeks to know if there are significant changes in transmissibility, severity or implications for Covid vaccines, tests and treatments.