Adjust to live with novel coronavirus – Health Minister

Accra, May 14, GNA - Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, the Minister of Health, on Thursday urged Ghanaians to learn to shape their lives around the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as it is likely to be around for a long time.

He cited examples of diseases such as the H1N1 and Malaria that had been with mankind since their first outbreak and were still being managed with various medicines globally.

However the COVID-19, being a novel infection, currently has no medication or vaccine for its management, leading to a severe impact on economies and lives.

Mr Agyemang-Manu, speaking at the Ministry of Information’s midweek press briefing on COVID-19, reiterated the need for the strict adherence to the World Health Organisation and Ghana Health Service protocols.

These include regular handwashing with soap for at least 20 seconds under running water or use of alcohol-based sanitisers, and more importantly wearing of nose masks and observing social distancing because they were the sure means to survival.

“There is no medication that we can take, there is no vaccine against the virus but there are certain things we know we can do to protect ourselves,” he said.

He encouraged people “to minimise talking, if you don’t need to talk, and more importantly when you are not wearing a nose mask”.

The Health Minister said: “We have been told that we shouldn’t laugh, we shouldn’t even sing,” and warned that in the situation where people refused to observe these basic guidelines, there was the likelihood that the virus would continue to spread.

Ghana, however, has presently been listed by the WHO among countries doing well with the management of COVID-19 cases, and although there has been fewer deaths the cases kept increasing daily.

As at May 14, Ghana’s total COVId-19 case count stood at 5,530, with 674 recoveries and 24 deaths.

Mr Agyemang-Manu attributed the successes of some regions still recording no cases to the enforcement of the stringent measures by the authorities, which include closing down of crowded markets due to non-compliance of social distancing and safety protocols.

Unlike what pertained in other countries, there was an increase in the community spread of infections, but the death rate was still low, however, “it doesn’t mean that we should allow ourselves to be affected by the disease,” he said.

He said the current community spread of the virus may not encourage President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to release restrictions and urged the public to adhere to the education to protect themselves.