The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, on Monday, disclosed that four Nigerians had tested positive for the highly contagious United Kingdom (UK) COVID-19 strain.
Ihekweazu, who disclosed the at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, in Abuja, stated that those that tested positive included three Nigerians who had travelled out of the country, while one was in-country, adding that it was not surprising to find the new strain in the country given the frequency of travel between the UK and Nigeria.
“In the last week, we have had three reports of the UK variant of interest, the B117 strain found in individuals that have left Nigeria to two other countries.
“When they were tested, this strain was found in them within a week of returning to Nigeria. This was reported to us through the international health regulations and it is most likely this strain was acquired in Nigeria.
“With our partners, the African Centre for Excellence in Genomics in Ede, we sent 50 samples to them and one of those samples had the UK variant linked to increased transmission,” he explained.
Ihekweazu said that the agency would keep intensifying its genomics surveillance and genomics sequencing, in collaboration with its partners, as shutting down international travel would not achieve much, so long as the virus was still ravaging in other countries.
He disclosed that the NCDC had rolled out rapid diagnostic test kits, which were used at the National Youth Service Orientation camps, adding that 22,119 individuals had been tested, with 765 confirmed cases, using the RTDs in every state, except Kogi.
Meanwhile, Ihekweazu has denied reports that the NCDC was making money from the private laboratories engaged in COVID-19 testing.
CACOVID supplies oxygen as donations hit N39bn
Meanwhile, the private sector Coalition Against COVID-19 says it has supported the Federal Government with the supply of critical oxygen for case management of COVID-19 patients to isolation centres across the Country.
A statement on Monday titled ‘COVID-19: CACOVID supplies FG with oxygen to stem high death rate’ said this was to help in the fight against the second wave of coronavirus pandemic.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, who is also an administrator of CACOVID, disclosed that since March 2020 when CACOVID was convened, the coalition had raised about N39bn. The funds was used for the establishment of 39 isolation centres across the country, including the largest and most used in Lagos, during this second wave, she said.
Speaking further, Youssoufou said the provision of oxygen to all the isolation centres across the country was made available by a key partner of CACOVID, Mr Raj Gupta of African Industries Group, at no costs, immediately the request for oxygen was made from the Presidential task force on covid-19.
She said, “As you all know, we are experiencing a severe oxygen supply problem in the country with this 2nd wave.