Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu

The Health Minister has disclosed that a group of Chinese nationals who arrived in Ghana not long ago, are on self-quarantine.

At a press conference in Accra Wednesday, to brief the nation on government’s preparedness to tackle the deadly disease in case of an outbreak in Ghana, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu said, residents in the community in which the Chinese are domiciled, reported their presence to the Health Ministry.

“So we, together with National Security went in there and when we went there, they have introduced their own self-quarantine protocol. We went over it and we were satisfied with it somewhat.”

Ghana’s preparedness

The Minister added that the foreigners have been linked to health officials in the community and are being monitored for 14 days.

“We are adding one week before we allow them to come out of their self-quarantine area. Members of the community are also doing their own surveillance and when there are issues, they will come and report to us.”

The Minister, however, refused to disclose to journalists the location of these Chinese nationals, stating that “not even to the President [is aware] at the moment. We don’t want him to know, at least for now.”

On measures being put in place to handle any coronavirus cases in case of an outbreak in the country, Mr Agyeman-Manu said 5,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) have been procured and distributed to all major health facilities and points of entrees in the country.

Additional protective equipment is being procured and will be delivered when they arrive, the Minister added.

In addition to all these, the Health Minister disclosed that a health prevention emergency response team has been constituted by the president to handle the crisis. This team will report to the president daily.

Likewise, public health emergency management structures at all levels – national, regional and district – have been activated and placed on high alert.

An emergency operation centre has also been activated and alerts have been sent to all regions to activate public health emergency committees to initiate preparedness activities and enhance surveillance for respiratory diseases.

Also, the Health Ministry is in constant touch with the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana to enhance information sharing and to discuss monitoring and surveillance activities on Chinese nationals in Ghana.

Monitoring of national preparedness is being done through WHO’s preparedness checklist and a Covid-19 preparedness plan has been developed, the Minister disclosed.

Avoid handshakes

Ghana has yet to record any cases of the deadly coronavirus but the Health Minister is urging Ghanaians to avoid handshakes.

The Minister said this is necessary to ensure that if even any cases are recorded, the spread from human to human will be minimal.

Aside from the regular washing of hands, and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, “our traditional handshaking culture must now be avoided as much as possible.”

There is now a total of 92,943 reported cases of the coronavirus, officially known as Covid-19 globally, with 3,160 deaths.

In the past 24 hours, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), China, where the outbreak is more prevalent reported 120 cases. Most cases continue to be reported from the Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Outside China, 2075 cases were reported in 35 countries. Almost 90% of those cases are from just three countries.

In Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morrocco all have confirmed cases of the virus, this has left many Ghanaians in a state of panic.

But the Health Minister has assured that no case has been recorded in the country all the 40 suspected cases that have been tested so far, are all negative.