Ghana may already have new Covid-19 variant within its border – Health Expert

Public Health Expert and Adjunct Professor at New York University, Nana Kofi Quakyi says there is a high probability that Ghana already has the new Covid-19 variant within its border.

His statement comes after an address by President Akufo-Addo that indicated Ghana has recorded no case of the new Covid-19 variant, a kind said to be more transmissible than the original version.

Speaking to Daniel Dadzie on Prime Morning, Nana Kofi Quakyi said: “Looking at the low genomic surveillance we have been doing, it is hard to say we don’t have it. Maybe we have it in small numbers.

“Given how many countries have detected similar strains, it would be kind of a stretch to say we do not have it.”

Hence, Nana Kofi Quakyi urged the government to set up impactful measures that would help reduce the risk involved in the spread of the new coronavirus variant.

He emphasised the need to quarantine persons who fly into the country because the antigen test carried out at the Kotoka International Airport has an 83 per cent rate of success.

Meanwhile, Mr Quakyi is optimistic that Ghana in a brief span will see a surge in Covid-19 cases after the Christmas and New Year celebrations.

“I am not comfortable with the current state of affairs but I do think that there are still things that need to be done.

“The fact is that mass gatherings are still happening, parties are happening, clubs are opened. If those things don’t change, then this becomes inevitable at a point,” he added.

He is of the view that Ghana may need to impose a lockdown soon – like South Africa and Zimbabwe if the current attitude towards the Covid-19 safety protocols does not change.

Nana Kofi Quakyi stated that tests carried out by the health services cannot reflect a full representation of the data.

“We are doing more tests at Kotoka Airport than we are at clinics around the country combined. That cannot be a strategy when you are doing 800 tests for a population of about 30 million.

“It is a snowflake on the tip of an iceberg. We are not able to estimate in a meaningful way what is happening in the public.”

As of January 1, the number of active cases in Ghana stands at 879 cases, with 54,005 recoveries, 18 severely ill but no critical cases.

The country has conducted 674,812 tests, with 55,220 positive cases detected. There have, sadly, been 336 deaths.

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