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Delta variant still dominant COVID in Nigeria – NCDC

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says the Delta variant continues to be the dominant strain of Coronavirus in the country.

The NCDC Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, made this known at the bi-weekly national briefing on COVID-19, in Abuja on Monday.

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Adetifa, represented by the Head of Risk Communication, Dr Yahaya Disu, said that the Delta variant overwhelmingly dominated the isolation centres in the country.

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According to him, countries in Europe have started to reintroduce restrictions and some have resulted in national demonstrations and unrest.

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“Cases have risen sharply in Austria, Netherlands, U.K, Germany and Italy.

“We must note that these are regions with considerably high vaccination rates, however, they are seeing surges in COVID-19, leading to make vaccinations mandatory to counter transmission of the virus which unvaccinated persons pose.

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“I mention these to inform you that COVID-19 is still causing havoc in other countries and we must not take our situation for granted.

“Rather, we must continue to use preventive measures, safeguard our health and take responsibility. We can work together as we have done in this long-haul response to COVID-19,” he said.

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The NCDC boss urged people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they had not, noting that it was safe, effective and would reduce the occurrences of severe diseases and deaths.

He said that the National Primary Health Care Development Agency has continued to lead on the rollout of vaccines.

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”Just last week, we had the national flag-off of the mass vaccination campaign and are ensuring they are safe and effective vaccines.

“There are now strategic vaccination sites around the FCT,” he added.

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The director-general further said that the national COVID-19 emergency operations centre continued to meet weekly to coordinate on the response to the ongoing pandemic.

“With regards to genomic surveillance, we have continued to consider the critical need to address the importation of variants and our sequencing efforts are still underway,” he said.

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Adetifa also said that laboratories were still available for COVID-19 testing, while urging Nigerians to get tested if they feel COVID-19 symptoms.

“Do not assume symptoms may be malaria or a typical cold. We are working to strengthen COVID-19 risk communications using innovative and targeted means by listening to the public and responding effectively.

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“The team is currently collaborating on the development of a COVID-19 response sustainability plan and an intra action review to strategise on ways to reinvigorate the response,” he said.

Dr Fatima Yusuf, Deputy Director, Federal Ministry of Health said that the Port Health, Public Health Services, (PHS) had continued to heighten surveillance at lands, airports and seaports.

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“PHS screens all passengers coming into the country at the various points of entry and so far, it has screened 87,841 people in September, 74,660 in October and 8,701 in November.

“PHS also provides traffic data on inbound passengers from all over the world and it has continued rapid diagnostic testing at the Seme and Idiroko borders.

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”15 positive cases were detected out of 1,679 screened with 0.9 per cent positivity rate,” Yusuf said.

The deputy director said that the positive cases recorded at the ground crossings have dropped significantly and none had been detected in the past two months.

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She noted that PHS officers were still positioned at the seaports where passengers and crew of ships were screened before berthing.

”So far, 138 COVID-19 positive cases have been detected in the country’s seaports and offshore platforms.

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“The positive cases detected among oil rig workers has also dropped significantly. For the past two weeks, not more than 3 cases have been detected,” she said.

Yusuf however, added that the Nigerian International Travel Portal has transited to a new platform from October, 30.

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