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FG debunks viral memo on new COVID variant in Ebonyi



By Sola Omoniyi, Lagos

The Federal Ministry of Health has released a statement to debunk a memo from the National Obstetric Fistula Centre, Abakaliki, Ebonyi state, alerting workers of an outbreak of a new variant of COVID-19.

The memo titled ‘’FYI: COVID is on the prowl again, caution, please,” read;

“With the new variant, BA.4 and BA.5 COVID delta, there is no cough, no fever. It’s a lot of joint pain, headache, neck and upper back pain, general weakness, loss of appetite and pneumonia.

“Sore throat that resembles strep throat, and of course, more virulent and with a higher mortality rate. It takes less time to go to extremes. Sometimes without symptoms.

“This means that the virus spreads and spreads directly to the lungs, causing acute respiratory stress caused by viral pneumonia. This explains why it has become sharp, more virulent and deadly. Please, be extremely careful.

“Do not keep this information to yourself; share it as much as you can, especially with your friends.”

However, in a statement issued on Friday, September 1, Patricia Deworitshe, spokesperson of the minister of health described it as a false claim.

She stated that no new COVID-19 case has been detected and also, no new patient has been diagnosed for over a year.

The statement read;

“The information from the purported internal memo emanating from National Obstetric Fistula Centre, Abakaliki, in which the Head of Clinical Services warned the staff to take caution as Covid-19 was on the prowl again, cannot be sustained and therefore 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 been presented or diagnosed in our Centre for the past year.

“There is no rise in COVID-19 cases in Abakaliki or 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 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.”