Omicron variant: Reps want NCDC to step-up response

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja

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The House of Representatives has mandated the Nigeria Center for Disease Control NCDC, to strengthen the national response to control the emergence and spread of the new variant of the Covid-19 pandemic, Omicron.

This was contained in a motion unanimously adopted on the need for stringent measures against the new variant.

Presenting the motion under matters of urgent public importance, Mr. Dachung Bagos, a member from Plateau State stated that the World Health Organization WHO has described the new variant as a source of concern based on the evidence that it has several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves.

Bagos who expressed concern that Canada has already recorded two cases of people who have travelled recently to Nigeria and that a total of 126 kinds of this variant have been detected globally and published.

“Concerned that Canada said on Sunday it has detected its first cases of the new Omicron strain of Covid in two people who had travelled recently to Nigeria. The government of Ontario confirmed that the two cases are in the capital, Ottawa and also preliminary evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of re-infection with Omicron (people who have previously had Covid-19 could become re-infected more easily with Omicron), as compared to other variants of concern,” the Lawmaker argued.

Mutations in new variant
Bagos added that there seems to be a high number of mutations present in the Omicron variant and it’s highly transmissible and may also present an increased risk on re-infection compared to other variants of concern.

He also stressed the need for the NCDC to ensure intensive observation and travel protocols for in-bound passengers.

Contributing to the debate, a member from Imo State, Henry Nwawuba, argued that the emergence of the new variant is a proof of the need to pass the proposed infectious disease bill.

“The truth about Covid-19 is that we have to be proactive. We cannot sit back and just wait until Nigeria is placed among the countries on that list,” Nwawuba advised.

Adopting the motion, the house mandated the federal ministry of health to direct the Covid-19 taskforce to immediately activate strategies to be implemented in monitoring adherence to Covid-19 guidelines.


Nneka Ukachukwu

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