Nigeria Detects COVID-19 B117 Variant In Nigeria

Moses Ofodeme

Nigeria has detected four cases of COVID-19, B117 variant strain, which was first reported in the UK.

Mr Boss Mustapha, Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, made the disclosure at the national briefing on Monday, January 25, in Abuja.

Mustapha said; “over the last few weeks, the PTF had been closely following the rising number of infections reported daily in Nigeria and in other jurisdictions.

“Similarly, our scientists have been sequencing the variants of the COVID-19 virus.

“There have been reports of cases with the B117 variant strain first reported in the UK, found in Nigeria. Three of these were in travelers out of Nigeria and one in a resident.”

He also stated that the daily statistics for Nigeria as of January 24, 2020, showed that cases were 121,566; total tests so far were 1,270,523; active cases were 22,834, amounting to 19.4 per cent; discharged patients were 97,228 and deaths stood at 1,504.

“Also, over seven days ending Jan. 23, the statistics showed that tests conducted were 58,974 while cases recorded were 11,179, with the positivity of 19.0 per cent.

“62 deaths were recorded, with case fatality ratio of 0.6 per cent; active cases stood at 23,568 at 19.4 per cent.

“All these numbers represent increases from the previous seven days and we are looking at taking further public health containment measures in local government areas that are considered a high burden,” he explained.

On the activities of the PTF in managing COVID-19, the PTF chairman said: “The management of cases is gradually improving with the availability of medical oxygen. The government is also fast-tracking the rehabilitation of existing plants and construction of new ones as approved by the President.

“The PTF has advanced in the deployment of resources for the national testing week and also continues to review the bottlenecks affecting the turnaround time for testing.

“Also, the PTF is improving on the International Travel Portal to minimise the challenges passengers keep encountering,” he said.

Speaking on the phase three eased lockdown, Mustapha said the PTF “is reviewing the guidelines on the implementation of phase three of the eased lockdown which is due to expire today (on Monday).

“In view of the fact that our numbers are not abating; all extant measures prescribed in these guidelines are (subject to some modifications) extended by a period of one month with effect from Tuesday, January 26,” he said.

On vaccines, he said the expected 100,000 doses would arrive in the country in early February.

According to him, the effort to access and deploy vaccines is progressing and as already announced by COVAX; the initial 100,000 doses Nigeria is expecting will now arrive in the early weeks of February.

“We wish to assure all Nigerians that the vaccines will be safe and effective; when eventually it is deployed. We enjoin everyone to join in the campaign to eliminate vaccine hesitancy.

“I have to, however, advise all Nigerians that the only source of vaccines that is safe and effective in Nigeria; is through the channels of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA. Please do not patronise anyone hawking or marketing vaccines,” he added.

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