COVID-19: Delta variant still dominant in Nigeria NCDC

The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) says the Delta variant continues to be the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the country.

NCDC Director General Dr Ifedayo Adetifa made this known during the bi-weekly national COVID-19 briefing on Monday in Abuja.

Adetifa, who was represented by the head of risk communication at NCDC, Dr Yahaya Disu, said the Delta variant still overwhelmingly dominates isolates in the country, with more than the other variants of concern.

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“Cases have risen sharply in Austria, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany and Italy.

We must note that these are regions with considerably high vaccination rates, however, they are experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19, leading to the decision to make vaccinations mandatory (Austria) to counter the desirability or transmission of the virus that pose unvaccinated people.

“I mention them to let you know that COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc in other countries, and we must not take our situation for granted. On the contrary, we must continue to use preventive measures, protect our health and take responsibility. We can work together as we did in this long term response to COVID-19, ”he added.

Adetifa urged Nigerians to consider receiving the COVID-19 vaccine if they haven’t already, noting that it is safe and effective and would reduce cases of serious illness and death.

“The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has led and continues to lead the deployment of vaccines. Just last week we had the national flag of the mass vaccination campaign and we are making sure that these safe and effective vaccines that have been successfully received get into the arms of Nigerians.

“There are now strategic vaccination sites around the FCT,” he added.

Adetifa added that the National COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center continues to meet weekly to coordinate the response to the ongoing pandemic.

“With respect to genomic surveillance, we have continued to consider the critical need to address the importation of variants and our sequencing efforts are still ongoing,” he added.

He noted that labs were still available for COVID-19 testing while encouraging Nigerians to get tested if they experienced symptoms similar to COVID-19.

“Don’t assume that the symptoms may be malaria or a typical cold. We strive to strengthen the communication of risks related to COVID-19 using innovative and targeted means by listening to the public and responding to them effectively.

“The team is currently working collectively to develop a COVID-19 response sustainability plan and intra-action review to strategize on ways to re-energize the response,” he revealed.

Meanwhile, Dr Fatima Muhammed Yusuf, Deputy Director of FMOH, Federal Port Health Ministry, Public Health Services (PHS), said the PHS continued to strengthen surveillance on land, airports and seaports.

“PHS screens all passengers entering the country at the various points of entry and so far PHS has screened a total of 87,841 people of interest in September 2021, 74,660 in October 2021 and 8,701 in November.

“PHS also provides traffic data on inbound passengers from all over the world to perform the continued PHS, rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) at the borders of Seme and Idiroko and 15 positive cases were detected out of 1,679 screened with a positivity rate of 0.9%, ”she explained.

Yusuf said positive cases recorded at ground checkpoints have declined significantly and no positive cases have been detected in the past two months.

She added that PHS officers were always stationed in seaports where passengers and crew of ships were screened before docking. Noting that oil company workers were also screened before going to sea and that so far 138 positive COVID-19 cases have been detected in seaports and offshore platforms across the country.

“The positive cases detected among workers at oil rigs have also declined significantly. In the past two weeks, no more than 3 cases have been detected on how the Nigerian international travel portal transited to a new platform as of October 30, 2021.

“There were some initial technical issues which are now resolved.”

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