While China and a host of other countries across the world battle the new wave of COVID-19 outbreak, Nigeria has recorded 48 new cases between the last week of December 2022 and the first week of January 2023.
According to data found on the website of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the country recorded 13 new cases between December 31,/2022, and January 6, 2023.
The agency had last week announced that 35 new cases were recorded between December 24 and December 30, 2022.
According to the NCDC tally, Nigeria recorded has recorded a total of 266,463 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the last three years.
Meanwhile, a total of 259,850 people have been treated and discharged with 3,155 deaths recorded within the same period.
It further said that as of 11th December 2022, a total number of 102,292,641 vaccine doses have been administered to the public.
Of the 13 new cases, NCDC said 12 were recorded in Lagos State, while one case was recorded in Edo State.
The new variant known as XBB.1.5 has raised fresh concerns over its possibility of becoming deadly.
The variant which is nicknamed “Kraken”, has according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) been identified in China and over 130 countries including the United States of America, where it is said to have now become dominant.
WHO said the Kraken variant is a descendant of the Omicron XBB subvariant — which is a cross between two earlier strains: BA.2.75 and BA.2.10.1.
It is said to be more easily transmissible than other variants
WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, Maria Van Kerkhove said that XBB.1.5 is “the most transmissible sub-variant which has been detected yet.”
Commenting on the COVID-19 situation, the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “The current COVID-19 epidemiological picture is troubling. There is intense transmission and pressure on health systems, particularly in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, and a recombinant sub-variant spreading quickly.”
The world health agency assured that the proportion of infections caused by XBB.1.5 has remained low, but cautioned that the situation may rapidly change.
To allay the fears of Nigerians about the disease, NCDC had in a statement indicated that there was no need to panic over the ‘Kraken’ Covid-19 variant.
It said it was monitoring the situation and would announce findings as they developed.
The Nigerian agency, however, called on Nigerians to always disinfect frequently touched surfaces to curtail the spread of the virus and other similar diseases.
It equally stressed the need for people to get vaccinated as one of the best means to curtail the spread of the virus.
While giving an update on the COVID-19 genomic surveillance, the NCDC Director General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, disclosed that the COVID-19 Omicron, SARS-CoV-2 variants and its lineages that continue to dominate countries like China, the United States, the United Kingdom etc are yet to be decided in Nigeria.
He, however, stated that the NCDC-led COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is combat-ready and has been monitoring COVID-19 trends in the US, UK, South Africa, India and some other countries with a high volume of traffic to and from Nigeria.
Recall that the resurgence of the COVID-19 virus in China has caused no fewer than 15 countries to impose fresh restrictions on travellers from China to contain its spread. Though Nigeria is among the countries that are yet to impose such restrictions on travellers from China, however, it has disclosed its preparedness to do the needful whenever the signal is received.
As Nigeria tries to reduce the cases of COVID-19 to zero degrees, there is still a need for a high level of surveillance to prevent the importation of the virus already causing havoc in China.