On Thursday evening, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced the first case of the delta variant of the Covid-19 virus in Nigeria. It was detected in a traveller, an unidentified national from an unnamed country, and the virus was detected during a routine test carried out on all travellers into the country.
News of the
detection of this new variant just sounded like when Nigeria detected its first
Covid-18 case back in February 2020. Then, Nigeria, and the world as a whole,
was yet to realise how it would be affected by the virus. Now, after a series
of lockdowns and over 180 million confirmed cases, with 4 million deaths
worldwide, everyone knows COVID is not something to take lightly.
variant, also known as the B.1.617.2 lineage, was first detected in India back
in December 2020, and in no time, became the dominant variant in the country.
It’s little wonder why India has recorded over 30 million confirmed cases with
over 400 thousand deaths. Currently, it is also the dominant variant in the
United Kingdom, where it is threatening to shatter their plans of permanently
ending the lockdown and relaxing some social distancing rules. Countries like
South Africa are also having a phase of a national lockdown due to the delta
It has been
described as highly transmissible, more than the alpha variant that kept the
world on standstill last year. Last week, the delta variant accounted for 51.7%
of new cases in the United States, five times more than it was just four weeks
ago. It has been described as a “variant of concern” and everyone is expected
to be on guard against the variant.
The good side to
this, however, is that some of the available vaccines are effective against the
variant. Many of the people who have contracted it are those who are
unvaccinated. What that means is getting vaccinated is one sure way of
protecting yourself from this variant.
thing, however, is that a large population of the world is still unvaccinated.
In Nigeria, less than 3 million people or roughly 1% of the population have
been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. What this means is that the country is
still very vulnerable to another wave of Covid infections, which could become
worse with this new delta variant. For now, we have just one confirmed case,
which is from someone coming into the country, but we may have community
infections in the coming weeks if care is not taken.
The only chance
we have is by following laid down COVID guidelines and regulations, such as
maintaining social distancing, washing of hands regularly, and making use of
nose masks. If you suspect you have COVID symptoms, you should reach out to
NCDC for the nearest COVID testing centre.
also has to do what it can to make sure that people coming into the country are
well tested and they should also be proactive about contact tracing since Covid
symptoms take days before they begin to show.
By doing what is necessary, we can prevent a wave of delta variant infection in Nigeria.