The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has called on security agencies to work alongside religious bodies to enforce the safety protocols during the festive season. The call became necessary following what the agency described as a decline in compliance with the safety measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was as the centre disclosed during a virtual interactive session with journalists in Abuja on Friday that 45 cases of the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus had so far been detected in the country. It added that the first Omicron case was detected in a sample on November 9, 2021.

The variant, which was first detected in South Africa and Botswana, has spread to other countries.

The NCDC, in a fresh directive signed by its Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said, “The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Health as well as the NCDC and its partners are intensifying communication efforts to remind Nigerians of the risk we face and the need to take collective responsibility to reduce the transmission of the virus.

“Security agencies are also encouraged to ensure consistency of the messages to the community, as generated by relevant authorities as well as identify the right channels of communication. These include the Federal Ministry of Health, state Ministries of Health and the NCDC.

“Information and feedback should also be shared with relevant authorities to influence decision-making and strategies. We urge security personnel to be aware of the high risk of spread of COVID-19 and the great risk of exposure occasioned by their jobs and to ensure that they are fully vaccinated, including booster doses.”

The NCDC, a few days ago, declared that Nigeria had slipped into a fourth wave of the pandemic following a 500 per cent increase in cases in the past two weeks.

“The first known case of the B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9, 2021. As of December 20, 2021, a total of 13,758 sequencings have been uploaded on GISAID. In Africa, countries reporting the Omicron are South Africa, 1,296; Botswana, 291; Nigeria, 45; Ghana, 40; Malawi, three; Rwanda, two; and Senegal, one,” it said.


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