The Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has said its COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is monitoring COVID-19 trends in countries with a “high volume of traffic to and from Nigeria”.
The NCDC said in a statement on Wednesday that countries including China, the United States of America (US), the United Kingdom (UK), South Africa and India are currently battling the rise of the Omicron SARS variant. -CoV-2 and its lineages, dominating the infections registered worldwide.
It added that its EOC is also monitoring the resurgence of COVID-19 in China following the relaxation of the country’s zero-COVID policy and rising COVID-19 cases, admissions and deaths in the UK and US. in recent weeks driven by the usual winter exacerbations of respiratory diseases.
The center for disease control also expressed concern that Omicron’s new XBB.1.5 sub-lines in the UK and US are partly responsible for the current increases in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.”
New variants not in Nigeria
While the NCDC confirmed that the sublineages that are partly responsible for the current increase in COVID-19 cases in other countries (XBB.1.5 and BF.7) have yet to be detected in Nigeria, it noted that “the B.5.2 . 1 has been seen since July 2022 and the others are most likely already here.”
It added that “the BF.7 and the XBB have also been circulating in South Africa since October 2022, but without any concomitant increase in cases, serious illnesses or deaths.”
The NCDC further noted that since the detection of the Omicron variant in December 2021, its sublineage (BQ.1/BQ.1.1) has been dominant in Nigeria, but “none of these Nigerian-dominant sublineages that also circulate elsewhere are been associated with any increase in the number of cases, admissions, or deaths locally.”
As of January 5, NCDC data shows a total of 266,450 infections and 3,155 deaths have been recorded across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, while 661,019,881 infections and 6,692,005 have been confirmed. deaths worldwide according to the WHO.
Unvaccinated at risk
On vaccination, the NCDC reiterated that the most important action for Nigerians is to get vaccinated against COVID-19, “as vaccination is the most important intervention to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death.”
It added that “regardless of variants of COVID-19 in different parts of the world, severe illness, admissions and deaths disproportionately affect the unvaccinated and those with established risk factors,” such as older people, people with comorbidities and the immunocompromised.
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The center for disease control said that although COVID-19 protocols and restrictions may have been relaxed, people at high risk should continue to adhere to recommended non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI), such as wearing face masks, good respiratory hygiene, and hands and avoid crowded spaces.
It also established that the Omicron sublineages that were associated with increases in cases, admissions, and deaths elsewhere did not cause the same in Nigeria because the population is significantly protected from a combination of natural immunity and vaccination with high-impact hospitalization vaccines. and deaths.
“NCDC will continue to pay close attention to the current COVID-19 situation in other countries and will collect additional surveillance data to inform actions,” it added.
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