Ghana steps up airport checks, alleys fears over Nigeria’s COVID-19 case
Relevant agencies at the leading Ghanaian international airports have been detailed by the government to step up routine checks on arriving international passengers especially from countries where n-COVID 19 has been confirmed.
This is as the Director of Public Health at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Badu Sarkodie, Monday renewed calls on Ghanaians not to panic over the confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in neighbouring Nigeria.
He assured that Ghana, with the support of the world Health Organisation and other relevant bodies had strengthened and enhanced its preparedness regimes at all levels to prevent an outbreak.
While noting that the needed support had also been given to health staff to boost their confidence to manage any case that would test positive either from the airports or any other point, Dr Sarkodie assured that “We just have to continually monitor to ensure that the relevant actions are being taken with regard to surveillance.”
Business Hilights Ghana Bureau chief reports that Ghana had last week, set up what it called the National Technical Team on COVID-19 following the confirmation of the first Nigerian case in Lagos last week.
Dr Sarkodie further revealed that “So far, Ghana’s Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research has tested 25 suspected cases and they have all proven negative.”
Dr Sarkodie said though the case in Nigeria was unfortunate, but it was good that it was picked up early – without delay to prevent an outbreak in the ECOWAS region.
The situation could have been in Ghana, he said, as the two countries shared similar risks.
“The monitoring is very critical; we need to ensure that passengers are watched closely to pick up any case that may arrive,” he emphasised, but added that, “the country is positioned to pick it early, investigate and contain it”.
“Jingles in the various local languages would soon be aired to boost the mass media campaign on prevention and early detection.
“Nigeria is the 49th country to report a coronavirus case, but the first in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr Sarkodie urged citizens to adhere to the preventive measures that had been recommended for their safety.
“They should regularly and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
“They should also maintain at least one and half metres (five feet) distance between themselves and anyone who had a cough or sneezed.
“People coughing persistently or sneezing should stay indoors or keep a social distance, but not mix with a crowd. They must adhere to good respiratory hygiene by covering mouths and noses with a handkerchief or tissue while sneezing or coughing,” he cautioned.
Coronavirus has since December 2019, killed more than 2,800 people and infected more than 83,000 worldwide.
Recall that the Nigerian Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Enahire had on Thursday, February 27, confirmed Nigeria’s first case of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case, in Lagos State involving an Italian citizen who works with a vendor company servicing Lafarge Cement in Ewekoro, Ogun State.
The index had travelled to Italy and returned from Milan to Nigeria on February 25 before his health deteriorated and was diagnosed with the virus.
As at Monday, the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Minister, confirmed that the patient is responding to treatment and has remained very stable.
Statistics show that more than a dozen countries have recorded their first cases of Coronavirus in the past 48 hours, with Tudors Adhanom, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, cautioning that the outbreak had become a ‘potential pandemic’.