Ghana records new variant of COVID-19; death toll now 352

Addressing the nation on Sunday, President Akufo-Addo warned that, given the surge in COVID-19 cases, the police will now sanction anyone found flouting the protocols

Ghana has recorded the new variant of COVID-19 following recent genomic sequencing by scientists in the country, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced.

The infected individuals, most of whom are international passengers who arrived at Kotoka International Airport, have since been isolated. At the same time, work has begun to establish the extent of spread of the new variant among the general population.

Delivering his 22nd update on measures taken against the spread of the coronavirus on Sunday (17 January 2021), President Akufo-Addo said the country is now recording 200 new cases daily, on average, because of the lack of adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

“Recent genomic sequencing undertaken by our scientists have established that some arriving passengers tested positive for new variants of COVID-19.

“These passengers have all been isolated. Furthermore, work is ongoing to determine the presence and extent of spread of the new variants in the general population,” Akufo-Addo said.

Worrying situation

He added: “Particularly worrying is the fact that the Ghana Health Service is recording, on the average, 200 new cases of COVID infections daily.”

According to the president, the number of severe cases has also seen a sharp increase in the past two weeks from 18 to 120 while critical cases have now reached 33.

“The number of patients requiring hospitalisation and intensive care is rising. The number of severe cases, which stood at eighteen (18) a week ago, has increased sharply to 120. Two weeks ago, there was no critical case, we now have 33 in our treatment facilities,” he said.

“Again, according to statistics from the Ghana Health Service, the considerable number of persons who are severely ill are, surprisingly, relatively youthful persons, with no previous underlying health conditions.”

Death toll rises

Meanwhile, the country’s coronavirus death toll has increased from 338 to 352 within the period, the president stated.

Ghana has also witnessed an upsurge in the number of active cases, from a little over 900 to 1,924.

Some countries such as South Africa have recorded a new strain of COVID-19 virus causing fear amongst other countries on the continent.

President Cyril Ramaphosa extended coronavirus restrictions in the country last Monday, citing a “massive increase” in COVID-19 cases driven by a variant discovered there last year.

Fred Dzakpata

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online
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