Another new variant of the coronavirus appears to have emerged in Nigeria, Africa’s top public health official said, but added that further investigation was needed. The discovery could add to new alarm in the pandemic after similar variants were announced in Britain and South Africa, leading to the swift return of international travel restrictions and other measures just as the world enters a major holiday season. “It’s a separate lineage from the UK and South Africa,” the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), John Nkengasong, told reporters. He said the Nigeria CDC and the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases in that country – Africa’s most populous – will be analysing more samples. The alert about the apparent new variant was based on two or three genetic sequences, he said, but that and South Africa’s alert late last week were enough to prompt an emergency meeting of the Africa CDC this week. The variant was found in two patient samples collected on Aug 3 and on Oct 9 in Nigeria’s Osun state, according to a working research paper seen by The Associated Press. “Unlike the variant seen in the UK, we haven’t observed such rapid rise of the lineage in Nigeria and do not have evidence to indicate that the P681H variant is contributing to increased transmission of the virus in Nigeria. However, the relative difference in scale of genomic surveillance in Nigeria vs UK may imply a reduced power to detect such changes,” reports say.