The coronavirus pandemic has continued to ravage Nigeria as 17 deaths were recorded on Tuesday with additional 597 fresh cases reported across 13 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The pandemic continues its rage globally as another variant of the virus, which is said to be mutating faster than others, has been found in South Africa.
Though not yet confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the new variant which is identified as C.1.2, was found by scientists in South Africa based on the types of mutations it contains and the speed at which the mutations have occurred.
In an elaborate publication by Aljazeera on Tuesday, a pre-print study put out by South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases notes that the C.1.2 variant was first identified in the Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces in May 2021, as the variant carrying the most mutations since the original “wild” variant emerged in China.
Nigeria’s data on Tuesday
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Tuesday night gave the latest update on its Facebook page, noting that the country’s total infection from the pandemic currently stands at 196,487 while the fatality toll increased to 2,573 from 2,556 reported 24 hours earlier.
According to the disease centre, a total of 8,755 Nigerians are currently down with the disease nationwide.
A breakdown of the NCDC data revealed that Lagos State reported the highest figure of 204 cases out of 597 infections, followed by Rivers and Edo States in the South-south with 89 and 65 cases respectively.
The FCT recorded 50 infections to rank fourth on the chart, Oyo ranked 5th with 47 cases, while Enugu and Ekiti registered 46 and 24 cases respectively.
Cross River recorded 17 cases, followed by Delta and Gombe States with 15 cases each; Osun, 12; Plateau, six; Benue, five, while Kano recorded two cases as the state with the lowest number of cases for the day.
About C.1.2 variant
According to the report by Aljazeera, the variant has also been found in other South African provinces as well as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mauritius, New Zealand, Portugal and Switzerland.
The pre-print study also explained that the C.1.2 variant may evade vaccine protection, though this is yet to be formally concluded.
WHO’s spokeswoman, Margaret Harris, was reported to have told a United Nations briefing that they were monitoring the variant but that it does not appear to be spreading.
She said for a variant to be declared a “variant of concern” by the WHO it must be proven to show “increased transmissibility, virulence or change in clinical disease, and a decreased effectiveness of public health and social measures.”
Scientists have also noted that they need to closely monitor the C.1.2 due to its similar mutations that have helped the Delta variant become the dominant strain across the world.
The variant tagged SARS-CoV-2 is recognised by WHO as the ‘most transmissible variant.’
According to the global body, the variant has been detected in more than a hundred countries and is expected to spread to more countries.
The variant has also been linked to a surge in cases in countries where it is the dominant strain in circulation. There are ongoing studies to understand the impact of the variant on existing vaccines and therapeutics.
Nigeria’s vaccination campaign
The Nigerian government on Tuesday introduced a corporate vaccination module that allows workers to get vaccinated in their office premises.
This was disclosed by the Executive Secretary of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, at the weekly COVID-19 vaccination update in Abuja.
He urged MDAs, public and private organisations that want their workers vaccinated to fill a request form, explaining that the exercise is free of charge.
Mr Shuaib also advised states and councils against charging fees when teams are sent to provide the services. He restated that the agency had the vaccines to stop the mutation and check deaths arising from the disease.
Meanwhile, the Abia State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ASPHDA) has inaugurated a committee for a crisis communication centre, to drive the campaign for COVID-19 vaccination in the state.
The executive secretary of the agency, Chinagozi Adindu, charged the committee members to take the assignment seriously.
He said the centre was initiated to achieve attitudinal reorientation among the citizenry, and to change their negative impression about the vaccination.