There are reports suggesting the government might be sieving the actual number of Coronavirus infections, confirmed by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra.
Credible sources, have told The Herald that, the research center could be handling about 50 cases of infection.
Parts of the reports available to this newspaper suggest that, Noguchi is overwhelmed with demands for a confirmation of the virus, because it is the only highly equipped centre across the country with the capacity to carry out the test.
Insiders warned that, if care is not taken, things could go bad for the health system of the country, demanding regional hospitals across the country, must be equipped immediately to carry out the test too.
The claim is coming on the heels of report that the country has confirmed a new case of the deadly coronavirus disease, bringing the total number of cases in the country to seven (7).
It comes also, despite government’s drastic measures to curb its spread by banning social gatherings and imposing a travel ban on countries with high cases of the disease.
Two Italians, according to Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, were given marching orders after touching down at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) on Monday evening, over the deadly virus.
Confirming the news, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) website, stated that the new case is another imported one, stating that the patient is a Ghanaian citizen who recently returned from France.
“This afternoon (17 March 2020); we have received report from NMIMR that indicated one (1) more confirmed case as positive for COVID-19 in Greater Accra Region. The case patient is a 35-year-old male, a Ghanaian citizen, who returned to Accra from France within the past 14 days. This is another imported case, which brings the total number of confirmed cases to seven (7). The case is being managed in isolation and he is in stable condition”.
The GHS added that they are actively tracing all persons who may have come into contact with the latest patient, as well as the six previous patients.
So far, there are no deaths in all the seven confirmed cases, according to the GHS.
“With regard to contact tracing, a total of 350 contacts have been identified and are being followed up. Two of the contacts who developed symptoms, had their samples tested but they came out to be negative. Currently, there is no death and all the seven (7) confirmed COVID-19 cases are being managed in isolation and are in stable condition”.
Speaking on the two Italians, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, revealed that although the president’s directive banning travels into the country by persons from countries with over 200 cases of coronavirus was yet to take place, they had already started implementing discretionary soft measures.
He noted that, government officials, had been hinted of details of two passengers on board Air France flight and were due to land Monday evening.
In response, airport authorities ensured that after touching down, the two passengers from the epicenter, were prevented from alighting and arrangements were quickly put in place to get them to return.
“…there were two Italians who we were clear were coming from the epicenter. Once we got the confirmation of their details, even though the aircraft was in the air, we had to make arrangements at the airport to ensure that they do not get off the aircraft and they are returned to their originating destination,” he stated.
He further explained that the move was in compliance with the travel advisory directive issued by President Akufo-Addo, to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Government issued a travel advisory commencing Tuesday, March 17, 2020, which indicated that any traveller who, within the last 14 days, has been to a country that has recorded at least 200 cases of persons infected of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, would not be permitted into the Ghanaian jurisdiction, except for Ghanaian citizens and persons with a Ghana residence permit.
The Government, has also instructed airlines not to allow such persons to embark; and also urged border posts not permit such travellers into their jurisdiction.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration in Ghana, in keeping with government’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, has also instituted temporary measures with the acquisition of passports.
The Ministry in a statement, said only passport applications with “proof of emergency will be attended to for the next 4 weeks at all passport centres across the country beginning Tuesday, March 17. 2020.”
The passport office, adds to the growing number of institutions that are either suspending or limiting their services to contain the virus.
The President, has directed the management of schools in the country to shut down effective Monday, March 16, 2020, until further notice.
The President, gave the order when he addressed the nation on Sunday, March 15, 2020.
He said, “All universities, Senior High Schools and basic schools ie public and private schools, will be closed Monday, March 16, 2020, till further notice. The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication, has been tasked to roll out distance learning programmes.”
He added that “BECE and WASSCE candidates will be allowed to attend school to prepare for their examinations but with prescribed social distancing protocols.”
The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama has commended health workers across the country for their dedication in the fight against the deadly COVID-19 and also assured them of the country’s support.
Addressing the Nation in a Facebook Live on Monday, 16 March 2020, Mr Mahama said: “To our frontline healthcare workers, a grateful nation salutes your efforts, your dedication and your resolve. Your country is behind you and we are relying on your courage and competence to see us through this difficult time.
“We ask for God’s protection for you in this hour of crisis, and we will continue to pray for your success in our mosques, in our churches and in our homes. Now is the time for all of us to take care of ourselves and of each other. And let us remember that the measure of our nation’s greatness is in moments of crisis such as this is how we rise to challenge.”
Mr Mahama also called on Ghanaians to exercise precaution in the midst of the battle against the deadly virus.
Flagbearer of the main opposition NDC, noted that a comprehensive budget review to parliament, should be considered by the government in the coming days, following the disruption by the global plague, coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve seen government’s around the world make bold moves to protect their economies and we should expect the government of Ghana respond rapidly to this challenge,” Mr Mahama said in the Facebook live broadcast on Monday.
Following this, the opposition leader, called on the government to publish its plans to protect the economy, including the possibility of a statement to parliament on the expected impact on the economy of the disruptions of covid-19 on global supply chain and international travel.