New COVID-19 Variants Not Cause For Concern – Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control

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Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Chikwe Ihekweazu, says the new variants or strains of the COVID-19 virus in the country are not a cause for concern because viruses mutate all the time.

He said they could only be of concern when the new variants or strains are associated with increased transmission.

He stated this Thursday during the World Health Organisation’s online news briefing on the latest COVID-19 developments on the continent.

He said Nigeria had not announced new variants so far because there had been no increased transmission and morbidity.

Ihekweazu said the Nigerian authorities had also ramped up production of oxygen and brought in the private sector .

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, said it was important for countries to improve routine sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 viruses on the continent to better to monitor the emergence of variants and their subsequent spread across countries.

She said the WHO, together with the Africa CDC, had supported countries to step up genome sequencing through a network of specialized laboratories.

She said the WHO had also helped in shipping samples, providing laboratory supplies as well as technical guidance and mobilizing funds.

According to her, the Covax Facility is working towards providing about 600 million doses for Africa this year, adding “We expect the first doses to arrive by the end of March, with a larger roll-out by June.”

The COVAX Facility, a global initiative that brings together governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines reaches those in greatest need, whoever they are and wherever they live.

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