The Acting Health Secretary of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr. Mohammed Kawu, has raised the alarm that the new strain of Covid-19 spreading rapidly in the United Kingdom is likely to have spread to Nigeria.
The new strain of Covid-19 has prompted some countries to cut transport links to the UK, which has again locked down the country.
The new variant of the deadly virus, regarded by some experts as the B.1.1.7 lineage, is not the first new variant of the pandemic virus to emerge, but is said to be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the previously dominant strain in the UK.
Kawu, at a media briefing on Monday, said he suspected that the latest strain currently ravaging the FCT could be the same reported in the UK, given that a lot of the patients in the FCT now require oxygen in the last one and two weeks.
He added that it is left for virologists to analyse and determine whether that is the case or not.
According to him, although virologists have not identified the latest Covid-19 strain in Nigeria, he believed that the strain is more virulent than the first one as many people are dying from the virus.
“We strongly believe the strain that is ravaging us now is more deadly than the first one because here in the FCT, many persons are coming down with the virus with many patients requiring oxygen and in very bad situation. It is most likely the new strain but I am sure in the next one or two weeks, the virologists will analyse it and be able to tie it to the latest cases,” Kawu stated.
He explained that the FCTA has investigated and tested 86,505 suspected Covid-19 cases while 8,338 positive cases were confirmed as at December 11, 2020.
He said with a per capita testing rate of over 18,021 per million (1.8 per cent of the population), FCT is the only state to attain and surpass the Covid-19 testing target of one per cent population set by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.