The deadly coronavirus, which has led to the deaths of millions of people worldwide has been mutating. A new strain has been found in Nigeria, with a different lineage from the highly infectious strand found in the UK and South Africa, leading to fresh concerns from people worldwide.
Location of new coronavirus variant in Nigeria
The new variant was found in two patient samples collected on August 3 and on October 9 in Nigeria’s Osun state, according to a working research paper seen by The Associated Press news agency.
The news agency also reported that the coronavirus strand has not spread rapidly like the UK variant, and is not responsible for the increase of cases currently experienced in the country.
Spike in coronavirus cases in Nigeria
Nigeria has recently experienced a spike in the number of coronavirus cases, which has led to some delay in testing. According to the CDC Director-General Chikwe Ihekweazu via his Twitter account, the CDC has had a huge increase in the number of samples they received.
As a result of the increase in cases, The Nigerian president, President Muhammadu Buhari has cancelled the annual official Christmas ceremony for this year.
“In line with the prevailing protocol put in place by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, restricting large gatherings, President Muhammadu Buhari will not be hosting the usual Christmas homage by religious and community leaders in the Federal Capital Territory,” spokesman Garba Shehu tweeted on Thursday.
Buhari, through his spokesman, also pleaded with the public to comply with safety procedures during the festive season.
“The President urges all citizens to, in line with the prescribed protocol, observe social distancing, use face masks, wash hands frequently and avoid overcrowding of public spaces, markets, shopping centres, offices and places of worship,” Shehu wrote.
The African continent has more than 2.5 million confirmed cases, or 3.3 percent of global cases. Nigeria also has more than 80,000 confirmed coronavirus cases.