An American-based Ghanaian specialist in infectious diseases says Ghana can successfully prevent a possible spread of the new coronavirus through strategic contact tracing.

According to Dr. Bertha Serwaa Aryee, health officials must deploy a good process to identify persons who may have come into contact with the infected persons and subsequently collect further information about these contacts.

Ghana on Thursday, confirmed its first two cases of the COVID-19. In a national address, Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said both individuals returned to Ghana – one from Norway, the other from Turkey.

Sources say the Ghanaian came in from Turkey, having gone there for an assignment with an international agency while the Norwegian, appears to have returned to Ghana after helping organise President Akufo-Addo’s recent visit to the European country.

Ghana’s West African neighbour, Nigeria, which was first to record a COVID-19 case in the subregion when an Italian flew into the country on Turkish Airline.

The country has been declared free of the disease after health officials successfully completed the followed period of all the contacts of the index case.

Speaking on Friday, March 13, 2020, on ‘Ghana Connect’ on Joy FM, Dr Bertha Serwaa Aryee, an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at Nebraska Medical Centre, USA, said Ghana can learn from Nigeria and also beat the new coronavirus.

However, her worry is that: “We have kind of a different problem because the people [confirmed cases] have been in the country for over a week [and] they sat on a plane and interacted with a lot of people.”

“We have potentially a lot of people who, maybe harbouring the infection right now. So our next strategy is to immediately try to make sure that we have an excellent contact tracing to locate everybody who could possibly have come into contact with the two patients,” she stressed.

By tracing the contacts of infected individuals, testing them for infection, treating the infected and tracing their contacts in turn, public health aims to reduce infections in the population, she stated.    

COVID-19

Cases of the coronavirus that emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019 are being reported daily around the world.

Currently, more than 4,200 people have died globally from COVID-19.

Also, more than 118,000 infections have been confirmed in dozens of countries, according to the WHO.