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LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria has detected its first case of the omicron coronavirus variant in travelers who arrived from South Africa in the past week, the country’s national public health institute said Wednesday, correcting its earlier statement that it found the variant in samples taken in October.
The Nigeria Center for Disease Control said in a second statement that it was the delta variant — not omicron as it had earlier stated — that was detected in the samples from October. It said the omicron variant was first detected in three travelers who arrived in the country in the past week.
“Samples obtained for the stipulated day two test for all travelers to Nigeria were positive for this variant in three persons with history of travel to South Africa,” Nigeria CDC director-general Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa said in the second statement.
Nigeria is the first West African country to have recorded the omicron variant since scientists in southern Africa detected and reported it and adds to a list of nearly 20 countries where the variant has been recorded, triggering travel bans across the world.
Much remains unknown about the new variant, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it makes people more seriously ill, and if it can thwart the vaccine.
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