Medical experts on Monday warned that Nigeria risked travel bans with Canada’s detection of Omicron variant of COVID-19 in two travelers from Nigeria.
Medical experts have criticized the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control for its failure to coordinate genomic sequencing of samples of coronavirus obtained from laboratories across the country instead the NCDC had sent its samples to South Africa. The Omicron Variant can be detected through the genomics sequencing of the virus.
Genomic sequencing is a laboratory method that is used to determine the entire genetic makeup of a specific organism or cell type and changes in areas of the genome.
The Omicron variant, a newly discovered strain of the coronavirus disease, was first reported by the government of South Africa and later by other Southern African countries including Zimbabwe, Botswana and Malawi.
The variant has also been reported in the United Kingdom, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Belgium and Hong Kong.
On Monday, Canada said the variant had been detected in two travellers, who recently visited Nigeria.
Chairman of the Expert Review Committee on COVID-19, Professor Oyewale Tomori speaking to the Local press on the Development expressed his disappointment at the inability of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to detect the Virus.
He stated, “In Nigeria, we have more than one laboratory available for genomic sequencing. The problem we are facing is poor leadership from the NCDC. They have failed to coordinate and collaborate and also organise a national network for effective sequencing in Nigeria. Recall that I mentioned that a foreign laboratory will intimate us of the presence of the Omicron variant.
“Some of our laboratories now send test samples outside Nigeria for genomic sequencing when the best thing to do is to coordinate and collaborate.
The United States of America, Rwanda, the Netherlands among others have joined the list of countries that have imposed a travel ban on South Africa following the discovery of the Omicron strain of the coronavirus disease.
Following the announcement of the new strain on Friday, the United Kingdom placed a travel bans on South Africa and five other African countries as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of the virus.
Similarly, the European Union which comprises of 27 countries slammed a travel ban on the region, this was followed by Israel, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, United States of America, Japan, Seychelles, France, Germany, Rwanda, Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Philippines.