The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said the COVID-19 emergency operations centre met on Saturday over the increasing COVID-19 cases in China.
Adetifa said the centre would continue to review the ongoing COVID-19 situation over the coming week and will implement necessary actions if need be.
The NCDC boss disclosed this in a series of tweets via his Twitter handle, @IfedayoTiffy, on Sunday.
An emergency operations centre is a central command and control facility responsible for carrying out the principles of emergency preparedness and emergency management, or disaster management functions at a strategic level during an emergency, and ensuring the continuity of operation of a company, political subdivision or other organisation.
“The COVID-19 EOC met on December 31, 22. Going forward, we will continue to review the ongoing COVID-19 situation over the coming week.
“At the next review, and if deemed necessary, a range of actions, not limited to enhanced surveillance of travellers at airports, may be implemented,”
Parts of Adetifa’s tweets further read, “Our COVID-19 EOC is monitoring COVID-19 trends in China, the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa, India, and other destinations with high traffic to and from Nigeria.
“The COVID-19 resurgence in China is not surprising given their recent transition from a zero COVID-19 strategy against a backdrop of a population that neither has high levels of natural immunity nor high levels of coverage with vaccines with the greatest impact against severe disease, hospitalisation, and death. Cases, admissions, and deaths in England and the US have increased significantly.
“@UKHSA data show 28.8 per cent, 36.3 per cent, and 1.6 per cent increases in cases, admissions, and deaths (as of December 22, 2018, compared to the previous period). @CDCgov reports 57.0 per cent, 23.2 per cent, and 66.0 per cent increases in cases, admissions, and deaths as of December 21, 2022, compared to November 20, 2022, among other nations.
“Data from @HealthZA show fewer admissions in Dec 2022 compared to Nov 22 (as of 21/12/22). Before the current uptick in cases seen in China, the US, the UK, and elsewhere, genomic surveillance continued to show the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant and its lineage continued to predominate in infections worldwide.
“BF.7 is also thought to be highly transmissible and sufficiently immune-evading. Furthermore, the “poor immune status” of the Chinese population, which is now exposed to high levels of virus transmission, may favour the rapid emergence of new variants of concern.”
Adetifa noted that the NCDC is continuing with its genomic surveillance as the omicron variant was first detected in December 2021 and has since become the dominant strain and BQ.1/BQ.1.1 and related sub-lineages were first seen in Nigeria in July 2022, and BQ.1 became dominant in August 2022.
Continuing, he said the Nigerian COVID-19 response continues to be executed through four pillars: continued surveillance, genomic surveillance, capacity for surge testing, and vaccination.
However, he stated that recent experience in Nigeria with the arrival of Omicron demonstrated that travel restrictions had no public health benefits but were disruptive to people and businesses.
Meanwhile, the Coordinator and Technical Head of the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19, Dr Muktar Muhammad, told The PUNCH on Sunday that the committee is waiting for feedback from the NCDC.
Muhammed said, “We have not met as a PSC, and we have not yet discussed anything in our technical meetings, but the NCDC would have been reviewing the situation, and we await whatever feedback they will give us based on their observations.”
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