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UPDATE 1-Nigeria confirms first cases of Omicron among travellers from South Africa

·1 min read

(Adds details)

ABUJA, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Nigeria confirmed its first cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant among two travellers who arrived from South Africa last week, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said on Wednesday.

The NCDC also said retrospective sequencing of previously confirmed cases among travellers to Nigeria had identified the variant among a sample collected in October. It did not give details.

"Given the highly likely increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant, it is imperative to put in place measures to curb community transmission," NCDC said in a statement.

The announcement by NCDC comes ahead of a meeting between South African President Cyril Rampahosa and his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja later on Wednesday, where the issue of the Omicron variant is likely to be discussed.

Several nations have imposed travel restrictions on countries in southern Africa, where the variant was first reported, which Ramaphosa says is unjustified and hurts developing nations. (Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Tom Hogue and Stephen Coates)