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Nigeria detects three cases of Omicron Variant

Nigeria is the first West African country to have recorded the omicron variant since scientists in southern Africa detected and reported it and adds to a list of nearly 20 countries where the variant has been recorded, triggering travel bans across the world.

Nigeria has detected three cases of the omicron coronavirus variant in travelers in the past week.

The national public health institute who revealed this on Wednesday urged the general public to be on alert and called for improved testing amid concerns that the country’s low testing capacity might become its biggest challenge in the face of the new variant.

Testing for the virus is low in many states and even in the nation’s capital, Abuja.

For instance, in parts of Kuje, a suburb of Abuja, Musa Ahmed, a public health official, told The Associated Press that no one has been tested for the virus for weeks.

Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and if it can thwart the vaccine.

With 214,218 confirmed infections including nearly 3,000 deaths — has updated its travel advisory, ordering incoming international travelers to have a PCR test 48 hours before embarking on their trip to the country and two more tests, two days and seven days after arrival. Incoming international arrivals must also isolate for seven days.

Amid global concern over the omicron variant, the Nigeria CDC director-general told reporters that the country remains at alert in the face of the emerging crisis.

“We are working very hard to enhance ongoing surveillance, especially for inbound travelers, and also trying to ramp up testing (including) at the land borders,” he said.

Nigeria is the first West African country to have recorded the omicron variant since scientists in southern Africa detected and reported it and adds to a list of nearly 20 countries where the variant has been recorded, triggering travel bans across the world.

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