COVID-19 figures being underestimated in Ghana – Prof Binka

The COVID-19 case count is being underestimated in Ghana, a Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Fred Binkah, has said.

According to him, the country is not doing enough testing for the virus hence the inability of the state to determine the actual rate of infection in the country.

He explained on the Key Point programme on TV3 Saturday January 23 that there may be several asymptomatic patients going about their normal daily activities who don’t even know that they have the virus because they haven’t been tested.

If the testing is intensified, he said, the figures that are being reported currently will most likely change.

Prof Binka told host Abena Tabi that the testing capacity must be scaled up to ascertain the actual figures.

Ghana’s current active case count is 2,413, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has said.

The total case recorded is 59,480 with 56,706 recoveries. 361 persons have however, died from the virus.

But Prof Binka said “The number is underestimated. There is more than we know.”

Without enough “testing how do you get” the actual figure? He asked.

“We need to improve on surveillance, the government has to put in resources,” he further suggested.

For his part Professor Gordon Awandare of the West African Centre for Cell Biology and Infectious Pathogens also asked the government to improve the testing capacity.

He also told Abena that “We have to increase the testing to the community, if we want to get the real picture.”

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Prof Awandare has also asked President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to prohibit funerals, wedding and other large gatherings again following the rise in the daily count of the coronavirus in Ghana.

He said that people attend these events in their masks but during the programme they remove them.

This situation, he said, put them at a high risk of being infected with the virus.

He told Abena that “There are some social events that are not essential, funerals and weddings. Let us ban them again.

“You go to these events and initially all of them wear a mask but as it goes on they remove it. If people will not be responsible enough to postpone their weddings and funerals we need to compel them to do that.”

Prof Binka touching on the mask wearing said at the moment, the surest way to fight the virus is the mask wearing.

He asked the government to provide free masks to Ghanaians as part of efforts to fight the coronavirus.

He told host Abena Tabi that the goal is that everybody must wear a mask,” and so “Let us provide the mask for free” and then the recalcitrant who fail to wear them should be punished.

By Laud Nartey||Ghana