Immunologist and Research Fellow at the West Africa Centre for Cell Biology and Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP), Dr Yaw Bediako says the new strain of Covid-19 detected at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) has a higher transmissible rate than the previous strain.

Speaking on JoyNews ‘News Desk’, Monday, he said: “They (the new Covid-19 variant) are transmitted from persons to persons easily than the previous variant. The number of people that a single infected person can infect is significantly more.”

He indicated that according to research and data gathered, the new Covid-19 variant is 70 per cent more transmissible.

“The time required to become infected is less. If you are in contact with someone who is infected with the older variant maybe if you were there for 5 or 10 minutes perhaps you’d not be infected. With the new variant, that time is probably shorter,” he stated.

However, he disclosed that WACCBIP has not yet been able to ascertain what accounts for the high transmissible rate of the new variant.

Dr Bediako also added that although the new strain of Covid-19 is very contagious it is not likely to cause an individual to be severely ill should one contract the virus.

He urged the public to adhere to the Covid-19 safety protocols as that is the most effective way to keep the pandemic under control.

“When you wear a mask you are protecting those around you, not so much yourself. You then also require those around you to wear nose masks in return to protect you. We need everybody to practice the safety protocols,” he said.

Addressing the nation on the fight against Covid-19 in his 22nd update on Sunday, President Akufo-Addo revealed that Ghana has recorded its first case of the new Covid-19 variant.

He said: “Recent genomic sequencing undertaken by our scientists have established that some arriving passengers tested positive for new variants of Covid-19.”

He, therefore, cautioned the public against flouting the safety protocols as a further spread of the virus could lead to another lockdown.

“We do not want to go back to the days of partial lockdowns, which had a negative impact on our economy and on our way of life.

“But should that become necessary, i.e., should the number of active cases continue to increase at the current rate, I will have no option but to re-impose these restrictions because it is better to be safe than to be sorry. So, together, let us all ensure that we respect the protocols,” he stated.