Let’s put in quick measures at KIA; a delay likely to cause third Covid-19 wave – Virologist

Kotoka International Airport

A virologist with the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research is urging health authorities to quickly put in place measures to help reduce the increasing number of Covid-19 cases recorded at the Kotoka International Airport.

Speaking on Newsnight, Dr Michael Owusu said that the virus, especially new variants, takes time to build momentum before gradually catching up with hospitals and other health facilities. Thus, a delay in putting measures in place to ensure that there is a reduction in positive cases at the airport can result in a third wave.

“I have followed the discussion on the numbers and the statement issued from the airport. I understand that this is based on trend analysis of what they’ve had over couple of weeks ago. From the information they are putting out, it seems to show that there seems to be some increase, in cases that are arriving into the country.”

“I think it is very important for us to put in measures and to see how best we can reduce, prevent or maybe avoid possible surges in cases. We need to be proactive in order to put in measures so that we don’t have any cases coming to the country.”

Citing an example, Dr Owusu said that last year November/December, the country had relatively low cases prior to the Christmas holidays. However, Ghana began recording an increase in the number of cases arriving into the country during the christmas season.

“This is what I believe also contributed to the second wave that we had. So it looks as if the airport cases are coming. It looks like it is a shadow of what may come or may happen if we do not manage this very well.”

“So it is something that we really have to pay attention to, and put in some effort to be able to prevent any surge in cases in the country.”

His comment comes after Frontiers Healthcare Service (FHS) has raised an alarm on the increasing number of positive Covid-19 cases being recorded at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

In a letter addressed to the Managing Director of Ghana Airport Company Limited, Yaw Kwakwa and copied to the Ghana Health Service, the company responsible for Ghana’s Covid-19 testing at KIA appealed to all stakeholders to stipulate the quality of PCR results acceptable for entry into the country.

“Today, 24th of April, 2021, we recorded 75 positive cases. This exceeds the previous highest rate of 45 positive cases on the date 21st of April, 2021.”

“It has become imperative to implement new guidelines to curtail the influx of positive cases into the country,” part of the letter read.

Dr Owusu stated that India has reported an increase in cases and with their huge population, it is possible they may have moved across borders.

Hence, it will not be surprising if not only Ghana but other countries also record new cases, he added.

“So if you allow this to gradually get into the country, it is only a matter of time and this new variant will build up to the point where it will begin to cause maybe a third wave, something that we don’t expect to see.”

“We seem to understand that every wave is contributed by variants, so when you have a country with a variant that is dominant and it is causing infections then you are better off putting in measures so that you don’t have that moving quickly. It is better to put in some additional enhanced measures.”

Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo is personally leading international diplomatic efforts to bring in more vaccines to protect Ghanaians against Covid-19.

Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, revealed that the President had to follow through with some engagements after the country’s vaccination plan was significantly impacted following India’s decision to stop the export of AstraZeneca Vaccine.

“The vaccines (that) were expected to be delivered by Covax in April and May have been delayed because of challenges in India. India has stopped exports and therefore we can’t have access to AstraZeneca any longer. The President is making very high-level diplomatic engagement and we believe that it may yield results.” – myjoyonline


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