Thirty-two Delta variant cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been reported in five states across the country, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said.
The Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, spoke about this during the resumed briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee on Monday in Abuja.
Nineteen of the cases were reported in Akwa Ibom State.
Ihekweazu listed Lagos, Cross River, and Oyo states as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as the other places where at least one case of the Delta variant of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the country.
Since the outbreak of the disease that has claimed millions of lives globally, health experts have continued to watch certain coronavirus mutations and variants that have become more contagious and deadlier than the original strain.
Among such strains, the B.1.617.2. (Delta) variant has become a major source of worry in recent times as a result of its rapid increase in several countries, including the United States.
Nigeria is not left out. The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who was also present at the briefing, raised concerns about the Delta variant of the virus.
He advised Nigerians against travelling to Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Cross Rivers, Kano, Plateau and the FCT during this period, except when it was absolutely necessary.
Ehanire explained that it was important for the PSC to discourage such travels because of the surge of the virus within the states of concern.
At the briefing, the United States officially handed over to the Nigerian Government more than four million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
Authorities said the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) would have to certify the vaccines for use before they are distributed.
PSC Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, received the vaccines on behalf of the Nigerian government.
He thanked the US government for the donation, saying it came at a time when Nigeria had started recording about 500 COVID-19 cases daily. The country has not recorded fewer than 500 cases daily for the past seven days.
Mustapha, who is also worried about the increased prevalence of the Delta variant in the states of concern, said the alarming single-day figures have shown an increased test positivity ratio of about six per cent.
He hinted that the PSC would publish the names of over 500 travellers who have violated the travel protocol and those who evaded quarantine.
Nigeria had commenced vaccination with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, but Nigerians are set to get doses of a different product – Moderna.
The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, has assured Nigerians that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is very effective, with up to 74 per cent efficacy against the Delta variant.
He, however, cautioned against mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines, saying conversations were ongoing about the safety or efficacy of doing so.
According to the NPHCDA boss, another batch is expected in the country in the next few weeks to ensure the continued administration of the vaccine to those that have received the first jab.