ABUJA, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Nigeria on Wednesday confirmed its first cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in air passenger arrivals, but amended an earlier statement to say the travellers had arrived in Nigeria only over the past week.
Initially, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said that retrospective sequencing of previously confirmed COVID cases among travellers to Nigeria had identified the Omicron variant among a sample collected in October. An amended statement from the NCDC did not mention the October sample and a spokesman said that sample contained the Delta variant, not Omicron.
First reported in southern Africa a week ago, Omicron has highlighted the disparity between massive vaccination programs in rich nations and sparse inoculation in the developing world.
The NCDC said Omicron was detected in "three persons with a history of travel to South Africa".
Passengers wait to board international flights, amidst the spread of the new SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron, at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, November 28, 2021. REUTERS/ Sumaya Hisham
"Given the highly likely increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant, it is imperative to put in place measures to curb community transmission," the NCDC said.
Following a meeting on Wednesday with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa slammed travel restrictions as "harsh and unfair" and said the economic damage would be "considerable and long lasting."
Several nations have imposed travel curbs on countries in southern Africa, while Hong Kong and Canada have barred non-resident travellers from Nigeria. South Korea said it detected the Omicron variant in fully vaccinated travellers who arrived last week from Nigeria. read more
Data from other countries indicates the variant was circulating before it was officially identified in southern Africa and has since been detected in more than a dozen countries. Work to establish if it is more infectious, deadly or evades vaccines will take weeks. read more
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Subscribe to our daily curated newsletter to receive the latest exclusive Reuters coverage delivered to your inbox.
Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day. Reuters provides business, financial, national and international news to professionals via desktop terminals, the world's media organizations, industry events and directly to consumers.
Build the strongest argument relying on authoritative content, attorney-editor expertise, and industry defining technology.
The most comprehensive solution to manage all your complex and ever-expanding tax and compliance needs.
The industry leader for online information for tax, accounting and finance professionals.
Access unmatched financial data, news and content in a highly-customised workflow experience on desktop, web and mobile.
Browse an unrivalled portfolio of real-time and historical market data and insights from worldwide sources and experts.
Screen for heightened risk individual and entities globally to help uncover hidden risks in business relationships and human networks.
All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays.
© 2022 Reuters. All rights reserved