COVID-19: ‘We expected lockdown of Lower Manya Krobo’ – E/R GMA

The Eastern Regional Branch of the Ghana Medical Association has indicated that it expected an extension of the partial lockdown to the Lower Manya Krobo District of the Eastern Region instead of a suspension of the lockdown.

President Nana Akufo-Addo on Sunday lifted the lockdown imposed on Kasoa, Greater Kumasi and Greater Accra metropolitan areas whilst maintaining restrictions on public gatherings.

The decision to lift the lockdown has been met with mixed reactions with a majority of city dwellers saying the step may cause more harm than good.

One of such groups is the Eastern Regional branch of the Ghana Medical Association.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Dr Akoto Ampaw who is the medical superintendent at the Kwahu Government hospital at Atibie in the Eastern Region and Eastern Divisional Chairman of the Ghana Medical Association, said they least expected a lift on the restriction of movement.

According to him, they rather expected government to completely or partially lockdown the Eastern Region.

“I will say that the majority of Ghanaians did not expect a lift on restrictions on the Greater Accra and the Greater Kumasi areas and I was one of such people who did not expect restrictions to be lifted immediately. And concerning the fact that we in the Eastern Region are really concerned about the numbers in the cases that we are recording; to put it that Eastern Region is now number three on the log of cases that have been recorded in Ghana, we were rather expecting that there will be restrictions within the Lower Manya Krobo and the Esujaman district areas which have become another epicentre for COVID-19 patients in Ghana,” he said.

The first case of COVID-19 in the Eastern Region was reported on 31st March 2020 in the AFCON Camp B (Lower Manya Krobo).

AFCON construction limited is a construction company with ties to an Indian business conglomerate.

After the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the region, all persons who were believed to have come into contact with the infected person were quarantined and blood samples were taken for testing.

However, later reports from the Ghana Health Service indicated that other cases were recorded outside the quarantine camp.

Commenting on this development, Dr Ampaw said the least action the President could have taken was to lockdown the Lower Manya Krobo District and carry out enhanced testing in that area.

“We were expecting, based on the new case rise, at least in the Eastern Region that we were going to contain or cordon off that particular area so that we can intensify the contact tracing in the area and also see it per new cases that are coming; are they within the community? The data that is coming out from Eastern Region shows that the majority of the cases that are recorded in the Region are from the AFCON camp and that came from the index case and its primary contacts. What we have not done yet is to find out if there has been a community spread beyond the AFCON camp, probably, cordoning off that area would have allowed us the opportunity to even test independently people who are within that area who are not related to the AFCON camp or the index case and its contacts.”

Dr Hadi Abdallah, a neurosurgeon at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital also criticised the decision by government to lift the partial lockdown on Accra, Kasoa, Tema and Greater Kumasi.

According to him, the decision was economically and politically motivated.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, Dr Abdallah said the numbers from the enhanced surveillance was not pointing government to lift the lockdown anytime soon.

“I base my decision on what others have done somewhere and the successes they have choked vis-à-vis the state of our health here. I believe the President may have more information than me. I am basing my argument on what we have been told by the President and the Ghana Health Service on their various platforms which indicates that we are having an increasing number of citizens contracting the virus and I was very particular on the routine surveillance which is quite different from the enhanced surveillance and those who were in mandatory quarantine. The enhanced surveillance tells us that there are people within the population who were just picked up through testing and we still don’t know how many of such people are in the system.”

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