Incoming traveler imports COVID-19 Delta variant to Nigeria

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The Nigeria Center for Disease Control said on Thursday it had detected a confirmed case of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, also known as lineage B.1.617.2.

The NCDC said in a statement that the variant was detected in a traveler to Nigeria, following the routine travel test required for all international travelers and genomic sequencing at NCDC’s national reference laboratory, Abuja.

The deadly Delta variant is recognized by the World Health Organization as a variant of concern, given its increased transmissibility.

The variant has been detected in more than 90 countries and is expected to spread to other countries, according to the NCDC.

NCDC communications chief Dr Yahya Disu said in the statement that the variant had been linked to an increase in cases in countries where “it is the dominant strain” in circulation.

“Studies are underway to understand the impact of the variant on existing vaccines and therapies. As part of Nigeria’s response to COVID-19, NCDC worked with the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research, the African Center for Infectious Disease Genomics and other laboratories in the national network, to perform genomic sequencing.

“It’s about allowing the detection of worrisome variants and initiating response activities. All variant data from Nigeria has been published on GISAID, a global sequencing data sharing mechanism. Given the global risk of spreading the Delta variant, positive samples from international travelers to Nigeria are regularly sequenced, ”the statement said in part.

Meanwhile, Lagos State Commissioner for Health Prof Akin Abayomi has said the state will not back down to punish international travelers fleeing isolation.

He said: “Anyone who tries to circumvent the regulations of the Presidential Steering Committee will have their passport deactivated and face sanctions when brought to the attention of law enforcement.

“We have a number of people that we have published in newspapers who have to come forward to the Lagos State government and explain why they chose not to follow the guidelines. We are in the process of imposing sanctions on many people or deactivating their passports.

“We are expecting a large number of children returning from Europe for the summer holidays. We know that the Delta strain is circulating in Europe and therefore these sanctions are very important. ”

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