Omicron Covid-19 not in Nigeria yet; we’ve ramped up surveillance — FG

By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja

In the wake of the recent discovery of a new variant of COVID-19, Omicron, the Federal Government said it is highly on the alert, warning Nigerians against complacency.

Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee PSC on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha disclosed this Monday in Abuja at a briefing.

“The world has been hit with a new COVID-19 Variant of Concern, called, Omicron as announced by the WHO. This variant is potentially dangerous, and Nigerians and residents are required to exercise extra caution and vigilance in practice and enforcement of preventive measures. 

“As the DG WHO has just stated today, ‘the emergence of the highly-mutated Omicron variant underlines just how perilous and precarious our situation is. South Africa and Botswana should be thanked for detecting, sequencing and reporting this variant, not penalized’.

“Nigerians and Residents are therefore urged to get fully vaccinated, frequently tested, and continue to strictly adhere to the non-pharmaceutical intervention measures, including physical distancing, properly wearing of face masks, ensure proper ventilation and hand hygiene.

“However, the PSC is reviewing the situation around the world and putting in place measures to curtail the impact of the variant on the country. The DG NCDC and the Technical Head of the PSC will brief you on the new travel protocols to cover Travels, Testing, Enforcement, Surveillance and Risk Communication”, Mustapha stated.

On his part, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said Nigeria has put in place measures to avoid importation of the virus.

He said; “We have taken measures to ensure that Nigeria is in control of the situation but the way the various variants have spread across the countries, it is also going to go through that pattern. There will be Increased surveillance and testing.

“As at the moment, we have plenty of rooms in our isolation centres and only five persons are on oxygen. So, we are on alert and ready. But citizens also have a role. One is the vaccination and the second are the non-pharmaceutical interventions and public health measures we have put in place”, he added.

The PSC added that the impasse on the Nigeria – UAE flights have been resolved in the interest of both parties.

“Although this process has taken so long to pull through with its ripple effects, we thank everyone that was involved in getting this deal. A date for the commencement of flights between the two countries will be announced in due course”.

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