Photo credit: UNICEF

Reports in the international press have revealed that there’s a new strand of the COVID-19 pandemic, known as the ‘Omicron’ variant.

According to sources, the new variant has been spotted in some African countries; including Botswana which has indicated that they have dealt with the first four cases detected in some diplomats who entered the country.

With concerns about the emergence of the new variant in Ghana, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye has advised that Ghanaians should continue to adhere to the COVID-19 safety protocols, in order to protect themselves from the disease.

He made these remarks during an interaction with the press on Sunday.

According to him, per information available to his outfit, the new variant is not transmitted through any new means. Therefore, if Ghanaians continue to observe the prescribed safety protocols in addition to being vaccinated, there would be no cause for alarm.

“But the issue about Omicron is that, whatever it is, vaccination is key, social distancing is key, wearing of mask is key, so the preventive measures remain the same. We are not having any evidence that it [the Omicron variant] will pass through different parts of what we know now. And so all the mechanisms that are in place continue to work. And we’ll also continue our surveillance to ensure that once we discover, we’ll look at that”, Dr. Kuma-Aboagye intimated.

Currently, many Ghanaians have abandoned the wearing of nose masks, social distancing and other safety measures, despite repeated calls for them to observe these preventive protocols.

As of now, a cursory tour of most markets in the capital will reveal the decline in the observance of these safety protocols. Many market women, including their customers, drivers and pedestrians alike, go about their regular routines with little or no recourse to the protocols.

The wearing of face masks and the use of hand sanitizers, which were popular at the onset of the pandemic have seemingly been abandoned by many citizens.

In buses and public transport for example, passengers also sit closely together, with the least inclination to maintaining the required distance, as proffered by the World Health Organisation, the Ghana Health Service and the government of Ghana.

The worrying decline in the observation of the safety protocols is further manifest in the huge number of worshippers who assemble weekly to sing, dance and fellowship in various church auditoriums across the country.

Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said government will enforce stricter compliance to reduce the gross level of non-adherence amongst citizens, especially during the Christmas festivities.

He also gave the assurance that the 72hour PCR and antigen test will be strictly enforced.

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