The alarm raised last week by an internal memo at the National Obstetric Fistula Centre (NOFIC), Ebonyi, cautioning staff to be careful of a new COVID-19 variant that is on the prowl again, is false.
The Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation debunked the claim in an official statement released by Patricia Deworitshe, its director of information on Friday.
The ministry said it has consulted with Tunji Alausa, the minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, and the management of the NOFIC and found that the claim is not true.
“The public should be informed that no new COVID-19 case or infection has been detected in our Centre. No new COVID-19 patient has presented or been diagnosed in our Centre for the past year. There is no rise in COVID-19 cases in Abakaliki or in Ebonyi State in general. The information contained in the said internal memo was a product of unverified and unsubstantiated flying news from social media,” the statement read.
“The general public is therefore advised to disregard the memo and its content. It is only the Nigerian Centre for Disease and Control (NCDC) that is statutorily empowered to release information on such matters as Covid-19.”
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) last Saturday confirmed that the two new subvariants of the COVID-19 virus known as EG.5 (Eris) and BA.2.86 (Pirola) have not been identified in Nigeria.
It assured that it has stepped up surveillance following reported cases of Eris in about 51 countries as of August 7 and the detection of Pirola in five countries including the United Kingdom, Israel, Denmark, South Africa, and the United States, as of August 23.