More than 32 deaths have been recorded in Ghana from COVID-19 related diseases between 1 January and 24 January this year, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the director-general of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has said.
He said the third phase of COVID-19 surge in the country was very severe and deadly than the surges in July and September last year.
Currently, 372 persons have succumbed to the Coronavirus disease since Ghana recorded its first case on 12 March 2020.
The active cases have increased from 800 to 3,613 as of 22 January 2021, with 62,135 cumulative cases.
Giving an update on the spread of COVID-19 during a media briefing in Accra on Monday (25 January), Dr Kumah-Aboagye said due to the severity of the new wave of infections, the GHS will soon begin antigen testing in suspected outbreaks in schools and workplaces.
Additionally, the antigen test would be used in hospitals when health workers there had been exposed to the virus, and also use it in selected health facilities.
At the moment, the antigen test is used at the country’s airport and produce COVID-19 test results within 30 minutes.
Dr Kumah-Aboagye said public health facilities would now offer 24-hour service and intensify contact tracing using public transport system like Bolt.
He advised the management of companies and organizations in the country to decongest staff at their workplaces and use virtual services instead.
Dr Kumah-Aboagye urged the public to comply with the preventive and safety protocols as well as the wearing of nose masks.
He said the entire West African sub-region was experiencing an upsurge in COVID-19 infections, noting that the new COVID-19 variants detected in Ghana were similar to those found in South Africa and the United Kingdom.
However, he said, the nation is yet to confirm a community spread of the new COVID-19 variants as genome sequencing is still ongoing.
He entreated the GHS and the media to continue collaborating in educating the public on the threat posed by the virus to improve compliance with the safety rules.
President Akufo-Addo has warned that the government will be compelled to put the country under a lockdown if Ghanaians do not adhere strictly to protocols to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic
Delivering his 22nd update on measures taken against the spread of the coronavirus on Sunday (17 January 2021), President said, “We do not want to go back to the days of partial lockdowns, which had a negative impact on our economy and on our way of life… But should that become necessary, i.e., should the number of active cases continue to increase at the current rate, I will have no option but to re-impose these restrictions because it is better to be safe than to be sorry.”
“So, together, let us all ensure that we respect the protocols. I urge all of us to continue to live responsibly with the virus, even as we work towards accessing the vaccine.
“Let us work constantly at how to do our work, keep our businesses and places of worship open, and send our children to school, all in safety,” he implored.