The Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) says it is on red alert due to global concerns over new strains of COVID-19.

At a press conference in Abuja on Monday, NCDC Director General Dr Ifedayo Adetifa warned that the resurgence of the coronavirus in China and rising hospitalization and death rates have renewed fears that the disease could return with more strength.

Remember that China had relaxed its zero COVID policy, which led to the circulation of new variants, mainly BA.5.2 and Bf.7. virus types.

While the NCDC urged caution amid rising variants and cases, it warned that more than 663 million confirmed cases and more than 6.7 million deaths have already been reported worldwide.

“In the Americas and the Western Pacific (including China), there has been a 74 and 29 percent increase in cases and a 49 and 35 percent increase in deaths respectively, although a decline is reported in the African Region 73 percent and 32 percent in new cases. and deaths compared to the previous week, according to Adetifa.

Meanwhile, the NCDC chief revealed that Nigeria tested 5,708,974 samples, confirmed 266,463 cases, discharged 259,850 covid patients and recorded 3,155 deaths.

As the virus mutates, experts say that the Omicron variant XBB.1.5 is the most transmissible form, but whether it is more dangerous than its ancestors remains unclear.

However, the COVID virus has continued to take a different epidemiological course in the country, as most cases, admissions, and deaths have only been linked to Omicron sub-lineages.

NCDC said: “Since the detection of the Omicron variant in December 2021, its sublineage (BQ.1/BQ.1.1) has been dominant in Nigeria.

Despite the mutations and continued spread, the NCDC advises that the most effective preventative strategy against the disease remains full vaccination.

“The most important step for Nigerians to take is to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as vaccination is the single most important intervention to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death.