The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has urged President Akufo-Addo to lock down the country in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a statement signed by its president, Dr. Frank Ankobea, the association said, “The lockdown though not a comfortable decision for leadership and citizens alike is a proven option backed by science and along with the other measures will ultimately be in our best interest.”
The GMA said the call had become necessary because of the threat posed by the distributing trend of community spread of the pandemic, and “the obvious inadequate logistics and human resource of the nation’s health system to deal with increased numbers of COVID-19 infection, especially in the severe to critical cases.”
“We call on all Ghanaians to support such a move in the national interest to save our nation from the devastating effect of this pandemic,” it stated.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is rising sharply in the country as 15 more cases were recorded yesterday, bringing the case count to 68.
Twelve of the new cases were from the travellers who were put under mandatory quarantine and subjected to mandatory testing.
As it is now, 38 travellers in mandatory quarantine have tested positive for COVID-19.
The remaining 30 cases were, however, reported in the general population, according to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) website that updates the public on the outbreak response management.
The case count jumped to 53, with two deaths on Tuesday, after 26 additional cases were recorded following the test results released from the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) on a number of travellers in mandatory quarantine for two weeks.
As of Wednesday, respiratory residue samples from 863 out of the 1,030 persons under mandatory quarantine had been tested for COVID-19.
In summary, Ghana has recorded 41 cases in the past two days.
A patient, undergoing treatment for COVID-19, in isolation at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the 37 Military Hospital, Accra, is reported to have passed on, raising the COVID-19 death toll to three.
The third person, who is believed to be in her 70s, was the wife of a retired navy chief.
The husband of the deceased, an unnamed retired rear admiral, is also currently receiving treatment for the same infection at the same hospital.
It is unclear how the deceased contracted the disease, but sources said she had a recent travel history.
Over the weekend, the Lebanese patient among those confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 died in Kumasi and had since been buried.
After his death, another elderly woman also in Kumasi died, bringing to total case fatality to two before yesterday’s incident.
Health officials have said the first two deaths had underlying health conditions but are yet to explain the third incident.
So far, there has not been any recovery story told by the health authorities but the Presidential Adviser on Health, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, said on Monday that persons undergoing treatment at the various COVID-19 centres were not in the intensive care category as it is in other dispensations.
The health authorities have said a total of 829 contacts had been identified and were being tracked.
Nineteen of those contacts have completed the 14 days of mandatory follow up according to the GHS.
Majority of the cases being confirmed positive as COVID-19 are Ghanaians who returned into the country from other countries where the disease is prevalent.
The authorities yesterday took delivery of a consignment of medical supplies donated through the Jack Ma Foundation belonging to the Chinese billionaire in support of the COVID-19 fight.
The consignment included 100,000 medical masks, 20,000 test kits, 1,000 protective suits, and face shields to support the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Getting these donations to all 54 African countries, with diverse geographic conditions and different levels of infrastructure is a great logistical and transportation challenge,” the foundation said in a release accompanying the consignments.
The Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who was at the airport to receive the consignment ferried by Ethiopian Airlines, commended the foundation for the support in these critical times.
The donation comes at a time when frontline health workers and hospitals have complained about the shortage of medical supplies to aid their work and protect them against contracting the pandemic.
The foundation is making similar donations to all 54 African nations in support of the continent’s fight against the virus.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri