New Coronavirus variant not yet detected in Ghana - GHS

Accra, Jan. 13, GNA – The new coronavirus variant has not been detected in the country; the Ghana Health Service (GHS) stated on Wednesday in Accra.

Reacting to speculation among the public that there is an infection of the new variant in Ghana, Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, GHS Deputy Director, Public Health told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that it has not spotted a new variant yet but has rather recorded a sharp increase in COVID-19 infection over the past few weeks.

Dr Asiedu-Bekoe said: “As part of our COVID-19 response, we randomly pick some samples for test, and none of the results has proven as of today, that there is a new variant in Ghana”.

He explained the containment of the virus, whether old or new will not change, and the principles will still be to test, trace and treat infected persons.

He said to be able to detect the new variant, Ghana started regular genomic surveillance (an analysis of a genome of an infected case) about a week ago.

In December 2020, the United Kingdom detected a multiple coronavirus variant with an unusually large number of mutations.

The new variant is said to spread more quickly and easily than the COVID-19 variant, but currently, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.

Dr Asiedu-Bekoe expressed worry about the public gross disregard for the COVID-19 safety protocols lately, saying: “People do not adhere to the safety protocols anymore.

“Even at mass gatherings I have observed that people do not wear nose mask, they stay at events for more than two hours, people stay at night clubs all night”.

He reiterated that the success of the containment of the pandemic was dependent on the individual, “it is only when a person decides that he wants to be free from the coronavirus that we can be sure of winning”.

He called on Ghanaians to take responsibility for their health and abide by the COVID-19 protocols for personal safety, “it is pathetic to see that at the entrance of malls, shops and supermarkets, a bold notice which reads ‘no mask, no entry’, but you enter and you see that the shop attendants are not in nose masks”.

He appealed to the public to wash their hands regularly with soap under running water before touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.

Observe physical distancing, wear a nose mask at all times, disinfects objects and surfaces they touch frequently and cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when they sneeze or cough.

Dr Asiedu-Bekoe said Ghana was, however, ready to contain the new coronavirus variant, in case it is detected.

He said the process in acquiring the COVAX facility vaccine is still ongoing and it is illegal for any individual or organisation to peddle an unapproved COVID-19 vaccine to any member of the public.