- With the recent detection of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 from Nigerian travellers in Canada, hopes seem to be dampened in the fight to end the pandemic
- An expert has called on the Nigerian government to tighten its seatbelt in ensuring that the spread of the disease is curbed
- The expert also said urged the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to do more to ensure genomic sequencing within the country
A medical expert has warned on the risks of travel bans for Nigeria following the recent detection of the COVID-19 Omicron variant on two Nigerian travellers in Canada.
Speaking on the situation, the chairman of the expert review on COVID-19, Professor Oyewale Tomori, said the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has failed to coordinate genomic sequencing of COVID-19 samples collected across Nigeria.
The Punch reports that Tomori alleged that the NCDC has been bypassing samples to South Africa for testing despite having laboratories with the capability to run the process of genomic sequencing.
Noting that the committee had sent a proposal to the federal government on the issue of genomic sequencing, Tomori said a request was made by his team to put NCDC in charge of the process.
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Describing sending samples abroad for sequencing as disgraceful, Tomori said there is the possibility that Nigeria might risk a travel ban by Canada and maybe other countries.
Concerns raised as WHO flags new COVID-19 variant
The organisation in its review advised its 194-member nations on a possible spike in the spread of the disease.
Although no death has been linked to the new variant, the WHO said that the variant has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which concern their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic.
Canadian government detects Omicron COVID-19 variant
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Canadian government had announced the detection of the new variant of the deadly COVID-19 various.
The Omicron variant was said to have been detected in travellers who visited the country from Nigeria.
The first discovery of the new disease variant was in South Africa and governments of nations have been urged to take swift measures in preventing the spread of the disease.
NCDC reacts to the detection of the new COVID-19 variant
In a swift reaction to the discovery of a new variant of the COVID-19 virus, the NCDC has assured Nigerians that no cases have been detected in Nigeria.
The director-general of the centre, Ifedayo Adetifa, said the variant was first identified after tests were carried out on travellers returning from West Africa.
While stating that while Omicron variant is highly transmissible, claims that it is resistant to vaccines are not proven.