Students and teachers still at risk, mass testing for COVID-19 needed – NDC
The National Democratic Congress’ COVID-19 Technical Team has cautioned against a false sense of security following the easing of public gathering restrictions.
As schools prepare to open for some category of students in the coming days, the NDC feels the recent trends in the spread of the virus “do not suggest that students, teaching and non- teaching staff can avoid significant risk of exposure to the virus as the epidemic is not under control.”
It warned that “the daily updates from GHS over the last four weeks tell a story of an expanding epidemic and rising risks in our communities.”
Ghana’s COVID-19 cases currently stand at 10,358 with 48 deaths and 3,824 recoveries.
Ghana has been noted by the World Health Organization (WHO) as being among 10 African countries said to be driving the spread of COVID-19 on the continent.
May 2020 saw an average of over 200 new cases a day in Ghana which the NDC says should prompt the government to “give greater consideration to the worrying trends in community spread.”
The NDC further suggested that all students, teaching and non-teaching staff be tested “to preempt any potential spread on secondary schools and university campuses.”
This is in line with calls from stakeholders like the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) which proposed mass coronavirus testing of students, teaching and non-teaching staff of Senior High Schools (SHSs) before they are reopened.
Among other suggestions, the NDC also called for better healthcare resources of schools, the provision of isolation centres on schools and ensuring social distancing protocols in boarding houses and classrooms.
Find the statement from the NDC here.
No mass testing from government
The government has already indicated that it does not consider mass testing to be a prudent intervention.
The Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said though the government has not given up on the option of mass testing, it would not be an absolute solution to the spread of the virus.
“Testing is not a panacea. What we have therefore sought to do is to test at-risk populations because there is a clear mapping of where the virus is [as well as] the persons who are at risk and therefore you are able to concentrate your resources,” the Minister explained on Citi TV.
“It may not be prudent to test 9.4 million kids that are going to school once. If you are going to test them, maybe you should test everybody every morning. Can you feasibly do that? You can’t do that.”