Audio of this story
Virologists are expressing worry at the recent surge in the cases of Covid-19 being recorded in the country.
According to them, Ghana must intensify measures to stem the spread of the virus as there may be a “secondary” peak if the claim by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) earlier that the country had passed its peak is anything to go by.
Speaking on The Key Points on TV3/3FM on Saturday, June 27, two virologists and one immunologist admitted that the recent case count should be a source of worry for the country.
Dr Michael Owusu, who works for the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research into Tropical Medicine (KCCR), said previously out of 100 samples only two or three may be confirmed positive for coronavirus.
But quite recently, out of the same number of samples, about 30 to 40 test positive, he said.
This is even having an effect on the testing capacity, which is going down, he pointed out.
Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) Professor Fred Newton Binka, who is also an epidemiologist, was worried Ghana is going by the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO) when the global body has made it clear that its guidelines are not absolute.
It is based on the WHO guidelines that Ghana currently discharges asymptomatic patients after they test negative during treatment.
“Under our circumstances, WHO hasn’t said that what we are doing is the right thing [but] we always attribute it to WHO,” Prof Binka bemoaned.
Immunologist Dr Yaw Bediako said the figures of recoveries the Service releases are not recoveries in the very sense of the word since asymptomatic patients can still infect contrary to what the WHO guidelines say.
According to him, the behaviour of the virus is different in Ghana from elsewhere and, therefore, the case management must be tailor-made.
“I fully agree that if we are going to use this method of discharge, we have to have mechanisms in place to follow up and test and the challenge we have is already what is problematic.”
The medical practitioners were also in unison in expressing concern about the easing of restrictions in Ghana, attributing the recent surge to this.
“Easing the restrictions is something that have to be evaluated on a rolling basis,” Dr Bediako noted.
“Every country that has eased restrictions have done so after they have sort of appeared to peak and they are noticing a downward trend of the case [but] in Ghana, we have relaxed our restrictions when our cases are rising. It’s a completely different condition.”
On this, Prof Binka said: “People are living in densely populated areas so we have to choose appropriately. If these people who we are releasing still can transmit, then we are just sending them back to the community to increase the transmission.”
“The essence of the lockdown was to delay this point we have got,” Dr Owusu said on the restrictions.
“Anytime we lock down, you push the epidemic point ahead so you are able to deal with the few cases and spread it over time but because of the easing restrictions, school…many things have come together at the same time and eventually we are all caught up in the web.”
Since Thursday, March 12, when Ghana recorded its first cases of the virus, there have been over 16,000 cases in the country.
Over 100 patients have lost their lives since then.
By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana