Virologist at the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research (KCCR) is calling for stronger surveillance measures to prevent escalation of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Dr. Michael Owusu says the lifting of the ban on restrictions of movement will make no impact if Ghanaians misconstrue it for the relaxation of surveillance protocols.
Ghana has now recorded 2,719 cases of coronavirus with 294 recoveries and 18 deaths. With Greater Accra region recording 480 new cases, the region’s tally is now 2,332. This number is followed by the Ashanti region which has 163 cases and the Eastern which has 94.
Speaking to Ohemeng Tawiah of Nhyira FM at a press conference held in Kumasi, Dr. Owusu said with the new numbers, it will be necessary for security operatives to be maintained on the streets for continuous enforcement of preventive measures.
“If you go out now and don’t have a bottle of sanitiser in your pocket, the security should be able to tell you to go home and pick it up. If you don’t have a nose mask, you must be sent back home.
“I am expecting the Information Ministry to bring clarity on the directive by the President. It is now that we need more security personnel in town and they can ensure that people take the social distancing protocol more seriously.
“As a matter of fact, when people refuse to do this, they must be arrested.”
The virologist who is also a lecturer at the Department of Medical Diagnostics at KNUST believes wearing of face masks by all Ghanaians should be made mandatory and not optional as it is being portrayed by a cross section of the public.
“I don’t expect wearing of nose masks to be encouraged; I expect it to be mandatory. That everywhere a person goes, you must have a nose mask on and the police must ensure that people obey this.
“I think that we have to slow the spread and also ensure that social distancing and all other measures are being enforced not left as options.
“With this, we can still succeed in slowing the spread while people move around. The disease is now trying to take hold of the system and this is when we must be more cautious than before.
“If people are not staying home and going about their normal duties, it means that there is a chance that multiple people will become infected and the rate at which they will end up in the hospital will become higher. So the precaution now should be stronger than ever before and the police and security must ensure that all the measures are enforced.”
The Regional Health Director, Dr. Emmanuel Tinkorang who addressed the press conference said more young people in the region are being infected by the virus.
This according to him was due to some risks the youth take which includes going out without a nose mask and direct disregard for social distancing protocols.
Meanwhile out of the 43 districts in the Ashanti region, 17 have recorded confirmed cases of the virus. The region has also tested 41, 986 samples out of which 817 were taken through contact tracing.