The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) says the sub-lineages of the COVID-19 omicron variant causing a surge in cases in China and other countries have not been detected in Nigeria.
The NCDC Director General, Ifedayo Adetifa, disclosed this on Wednesday in a statement.
He said, “The sub-lineages partly responsible for the current increase in COVID-19 cases in other countries that is XBB.1.5 and BF.7 have not yet been detected in the country but B.5.2.1 has been seen here since July 2022 and the others are most likely here already. BF.7 and XBB have also been circulating in South Africa since October 2022 but without any accompanying increase in cases, severe illness, or deaths.”
Adetifa said before the recent case increase in China, the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK ) and other countries, genomic surveillance had shown that the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant and its lineages had continued to dominate in recorded infections worldwide.
He said however, the rise in the new Omicron sub-lineages XBB.1.5 in the UK and the US, and BF.7 in China raises concern as it might spread faster than older Omicron sub-lineages (e.g., XBB or BQ) and that they were responsible in part for current increases in cases, hospitalisations, and deaths.
He said the NCDC-led COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was monitoring COVID-19 trends in China, USA, UK, South Africa, India, and other countries with a high volume of traffic to and from Nigeria. The director general said the NCDC had continued to strengthen genomic surveillance of the COVID-19 virus in Nigeria. He said the most important action for Nigerians to take was to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as the vaccine was the most important intervention for preventing severe disease, hospitalisation, and death.