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Canada Extends Travel Ban To Nigeria, As NCDC Detects Two More Cases Of Omicron Variant In Nigeria

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Canada has extended its travel ban from Nigeria, following the discovery of Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Other countries banned alongside Nigeria, include Egypt and Malawi. Several countries were banned on Sunday, as the country claimed two passengers from Nigeria tested positive to the new Omicron Covid-19 variant.

“We are adding three countries to the list of these countries that we talked about last Friday, these are Malawi, Egypt and Nigeria,” Canadian Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos was quoted as saying by Sputnik news agency

However, after initially denying the existence of the new variant in country, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has come out to say it has detected the Omicron COVID-19 variant in Nigeria.

According to a statement by Ifedayo Adetifa, the NCDC director-general, the variant was detected in two Nigerians who arrived in the country last week.

The agency, however, said the two cases are asymptomatic, and that contact tracing has begun.

“In line with the routine travel test required of all international travelers and genomic sequencing at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) through its National Reference Laboratory (NRL), Abuja -confirmed Nigeria’s first case of the Omicron variant, also known as the B.1.1.529 lineage,” the statement reads.

“Genomic sequencing of positive cases from routine day two test for all travelers to Nigeria identified two cases of Omicron variant among travelers from South Africa who arrived in Nigeria in the last week.

“Retrospective sequencing of the previously confirmed cases among travellers to Nigeria also identified the Omicron variant among the sample collected in October 2021.

“The two recent cases though asymptomatic have been linked to clinical care and other response activities which include contact tracing have commenced. Arrangements have been made to notify their country of origin to commence in country response.”

The index case of Omicron was detected in South Africa last Tuesday, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) had subsequently designated Omicron as a “variant of concern”, calling on global leaders to take action to contain its spread.

The variant has already been detected in many countries including the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Botswana, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong.