- He said with many people coming through before the imposition of the mandatory quarantine, it was possible that many cases could have slipped through, hence the need for such people to isolate themselves to help curb the spread of the virus.
The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has appealed to people who have arrived in the country but might have missed the mandatory quarantine to adhere to the self-quarantine advice in order to help prevent the horizontal or community spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
He said with many people coming through before the imposition of the mandatory quarantine, it was possible that many cases could have slipped through, hence the need for such people to isolate themselves to help curb the spread of the virus.
The minister’s appeal follows the confirmation that 25 of the 1,030 people put in mandatory quarantine on their arrival into the country by air last Sunday had tested positive for the COVID-19.
At a press conference to update the media on the COVID-19 situation, Mr Agyeman-Manu said of the number in mandatory quarantine, 611 samples had so far been collected and 185 tested, and it was out of that number that 25 cases had been confirmed.
Confirmed cases now 52
The 25 confirmed cases from those in mandatory quarantine had increased the cases in Ghana to 52, after the minister had also indicated that more cases had been recorded internally.
Of the number, two deaths have been recorded.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said field officers, epidemiologists and community health nurses had been trained to undertake contact tracing to pick people and, therefore, urged Ghanaians to assist health officials in identifying persons who might be at risk of the pandemic in a bid to tackle the horizontal spread of the virus in the country and protect the population.
“In Accra, we have deployed 98 field officers, epidemiologists and community health nurses who have been trained in tracing people. In Kumasi, we have deployed about 50 trained people who are also doing contact tracing.
“I appeal to all those our brothers and sisters who have come in from abroad to put themselves in self-quarantine if we haven’t tracked them yet.
“We should talk to health authorities in the areas where they live to send teams to serve them, such that we can protect the population against community spread that we have seen in the country at the moment,” the minister said.
He also said Accra, Tema and Kumasi had been identified as the hotspots of the COVID-19, as all the cases confirmed had been from those places.
The Chief Legal Advisor at the National Security Council Secretariat, Mr Osei Bonsu indicated that given the strain associated with being under quarantine, some psychologists had been deployed to speak to those under quarantine to ease their stress.
“Quarantining imposes a lot of strain and a lot of psychological issues on those being quarantined. That is a fact to be reckoned with. There is a literal inclination to be anxious and show irritation, and so in pursuance of that we have also deployed psychologists to speak to them,” Mr Dickson, who briefed the media on how National Security was implementing the mandatory quarantine directive, explained.
He appealed to those who had been placed in quarantine and their families to cooperate and bear with the situation as it was in their own interest and the general good of the country.
More cases possible
The Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said all the 1,030 people in mandatory quarantine would be tested and kept for the 14-day period to ensure that a possible spread of the disease was contained.
He said from experts’ advice, the situation could escalate before it got better and encouraged people to remain calm and not panic.
The minister said the enhanced protocols were for the good of the country and its 30 million people, as it was better to inconvenience a few thousands of people to save the millions.
“The good news is that the decision to undertake the mandatory quarantine has made an impact because without that all these confirmed cases could have slipped through and they might not have observed the self-quarantine earlier prescribed.
“This means they could have contributed to the community spread of the disease if they had been allowed to go home and observe the self- quarantine. We know that could not have been possible and the danger of the spread would have been worse,” he said.
As part of enhanced measures to deal with the spread of the COVID-19, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in a national address last Saturday night, directed that every traveller arriving in the country by air be put in mandatory quarantine.
Also, all the borders of Ghana were to close at midnight last Sunday for two weeks.