The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said Delta variant cases of COVID-19 have so far been identified in the country.
The Director General of the organisation, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, disclosed this during the health minister’s update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Abuja on Monday.
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He said, “So far we have identified 10 delta variant cases in the country. Actually what we do is collect samples from the travelers. Most of the cases are from travellers coming into Lagos and Abuja. Once they come in, we collect samples.
“The symptoms that it possesses are not like what we are used to, so that is why we need to be more careful.”
Represented by Elsie Ilori, Director of Disease Surveillance Department, he said the test positivity rate for COVID-19 has increased to 24 percent from the rate sustained in previous weeks.
He said as of 22nd July, the country recorded 22,130, suspected cases of cholera and 526 deaths from the disease in 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) .
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the world has witnessed an increase in reported cases of COVID-19 across a significant number of countries in the past 24 hours, due to the high transmissibility of the Delta Variant.
He said the threat includes importation from countries that are popular travel destinations for Nigerians, including the United Kingdom, United States, UAE, France and Turkey, which have high incidence of this virulent strain.
“Nigeria is at increased risk if we continue to neglect public health protocols placed at points of entry, which are our first line of defence and a critical point of concern,” he said.
Worry over third wave
The minister said it is worrisome that despite evidence of the emergence of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens continue to refuse adherence to public health advisories.
He said the severity of this disease should not be disregarded as it is still a primary cause of concern, even in countries with stronger health systems.
He added that the Federal Ministry of Health Point of Entry (PoE) pillar of the COVID-91 response has been continuously monitoring passenger arrivals especially from high-risk countries like India, Turkey, and Brazil.
He said, “I entreat all persons to comply with our Port Health staff or risk facing sanctions, including prosecution. Non-compliance with their directives constitutes a risk to national health security and will be handled with commensurate severity.”
Increase in bed occupancy
While saying that COVID-19 treatment bed occupancy is also recording an increase because of the third wave, he said the ministry has taken steps to urgently scale-up and enhance local oxygen capacity even before oxygen consumption increases.
He said the country is also expecting over 29 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines purchased by the federal government through the African Union AVATT facility in August to ensure COVID-19 vaccine sufficiency.
He said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is a one dose vaccine, will be advantageous for our context with weak Civil Registration Vital Statistics (CRVS) and a nomadic population.
As of 25th July 2021, Nigeria had recorded 170,895 COVID-19 cases, and 2,132 fatalities.