The presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 says 13 cases of a variant first reported in the UK have been detected in Nigeria.
The UK variant known as B.1.1.7 is said to be deadlier than the original strain.
Nigeria recorded the first case of the variant in January.
Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) and chairman on PTF, on Monday said the 13 detected were from samples collected between November and January.
“Testing is still being aggressively pursued as a viable strategy and the PTF shall continue to appeal to not just the citizens to get tested but call on sub-national entities to ensure that capacity of the laboratories that have been established within their jurisdictions be fully maximized,” he said.
“This will help reduce the burden on the National Reference Laboratory and the attendant lengthy turnaround time for test results.
“The PTF (through the NCDC) is working with the Africa CDC on genomic surveillance. A total of 13 B117 variant strain have so far been detected in Nigeria. Six out of these numbers were detected in the last one week and they all came out of samples collected between November and January.
“You will all recall that the Coronavirus disease health protection regulations 2021 signed by Mr. President is now fully operational. The PFT wishes to reiterate that the provisions contained in the Regulations are lucid and are applicable to all entities (public or private sectors).
“I therefore wish to remind all MDAs of the strong need to deploy technology for meetings, retreat, etc and to avoid large gatherings that may violate the Regulations. If such plans are on-going, they should be modified forthwith.”
He said the shortage of oxygen for case management is being addressed.
According to him, the private sector is supporting the provision of oxygen nationwide and allocations have been made to states.
He said the process for accessing vaccines and the plans for getting it to the last mile is progressing.