Nigeria has confirmed the detection of the Delta COVID-19 variant in the West African country.
“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has detected a confirmed case with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, also known as lineage B.1.617.2,” the health agency said in a statement on Thursday night.
“The variant was detected in a traveler to Nigeria, following the routine travel test required of all international travelers and genomic sequencing at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja.”
The NCDC, however, assured Nigerians that the federal government has put measures in place to combat the disease, asking them to adhere to the recommended safety protocols.
“Proven public health and social measures such as physical distancing, frequent
handwashing, and proper use of face masks, prevent infections and save lives,” it added.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and offers protection against the disease.”
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Delta variant has an increased transmissibilty, and has raised concerns across the globe.
It has also been detected in over 90 countries and is expected to spread to more nations.
“The variant has also been linked to a surge in cases in countries where it is the dominant strain in circulation,” the NCDC explained. “There are ongoing studies to understand the impact of the variant on existing vaccines and therapeutics.”
Nigeria which confirmed its first case of the virus in February 2020, has continued to witness a slump in the number of infections since the beginning of the year.
But the Director General of the agency, Dr Chikwe Iheakweazu says the rising number of infections in other countries remains a major concern.
“The surge in cases in countries across the world and Africa is an important reminder of the risk we face,” he said.
As of the time of this report, over 160, 000 cases of the disease have been confirmed in Nigeria.