On Monday, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) revealed that 4 Nigerians had tested positive for the highly contagious United Kingdom (UK) COVID-19 strain.
Ihekweazu, disclosed this information at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, in Abuja. He stated that those that tested positive included three Nigerians who had travelled out of the country, while one was in-country.
F urthermore, he disclosed that it was not surprising to find the new strain in the country due to the frequency of travel between the UK and Nigeria.
He said: “In the last week, we have had three reports of the UK variant of interest, the B117 strain found in individuals that have left Nigeria to two other countries.
“When they were tested, this strain was found in them within a week of returning to Nigeria. This was reported to us through the international health regulations and it is most likely this strain was acquired in Nigeria.
“With our partners, the African Centre for Excellence in Genomics in Ede, we sent 50 samples to them and one of those samples had the UK variant linked to increased transmission.”
Ihekweazu explained that the agency would keep intensifying its genomics surveillance and genomics sequencing, in collaboration with its partners.
He noted that shutting down international travel would not achieve much, so long as the virus was still rampant in other countries.
He further stated that the NCDC had rolled out quick diagnostic test kits, which were used at the National Youth Service Orientation camps.
Ihekweazu added that 22,119 individuals had been tested, with 765 confirmed cases, using the RTDs in every state, except Kogi.
Ihekweazu clearly denied all statements and rumors claiming that the NCDC was making money from the private laboratories engaged in COVID-19 testing.