India’s deadly COVID-19 variant: FG expert panel meets today, plans additional measures

The Federal Government has resolved to introduce additional control measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 strain in India to Nigeria.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, who disclosed this in an interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday, said the issue would be discussed at the ministerial experts’ committee meeting on Monday (today).

India is currently witnessing what has been described as a devastating second wave of COVID-19 with confirmed cases and deaths increasing in the past weeks.

The country is said to recording more than a quarter million cases per day.

One of the new variants circulating in India is referred to as the “double mutant” though it is officially called B.1.617.

With many Indians in Nigeria and the fact that the index case of the virus in the country was an Italian, there are concerns that the Indian strain may find its way into Nigeria if proper control measures are not put in place.

According to an Indian Express report, sources said the Health Ministry was last week briefed about the possibility of a double mutant variant developing another significant mutation and becoming a ‘triple-mutant.’

The report further said West Bengal seems to be becoming the hotspot for such mutations and the new triple mutant could make the virus even more capable of evading human immune response.

According to www.worldometers.info, India currently has 17,306,300 cases out of the world figure 147million; while the country has also recorded 195,116 deaths out of the 3.1million world figure.

It has also recorded 14,296,640 recoveries.

The United States currently has 32,814,104 cases, 586,084 deaths and 25,371,747 recoveries; Brazil has 14,308,215 cases, 389,609 deaths and 12,766,772 recoveries; while United Kingdom has 4,404,882 cases,127,428 deaths and 4,193,828 recoveries.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria as of April 24 was 164,684, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. A total of 2,061 deaths have also been recorded while 154,687 people have recovered from the virus.

According to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, 1,171,515 people have received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the country as of April 25. The percentage of eligible Nigerians who have been vaccinated is 58.2 per cent.

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