A virologist at the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR), Michael Owusu, believes that the COVID-19 outbreak is “running ahead” of Ghana. He is therefore appealing to President Akufo-Addo to institute localised lockdowns in COVID-19 hot spots across the country.
Dr Owusu insists that such a move is the only way to prevent the health system from become overwhelmed.
As of today (19 June), Ghana’s COVID-19 case count has reached 12,929, with 4,468 recoveries recorded. The number of deaths has remained constant since the last count, at 66.
Calls for localised lockdown
Dr Owusu suggested that the government has been lackadaisical in its handling of the pandemic in recent weeks.
He warned that things could spiral out of control if drastic steps are not taken immediately to slow the rapid rate of infection.
The most effective way to contain the virus, he said, is for the government to restrict citizens’ movement with localised lockdowns.
Dr Owusu told Joy News that he personally knows people “who are positive but still going to work”. A localised lockdown in hot-spot areas would compel such people to stay home, he said, preventing further spread of the virus.
The virologist was supported by Ernest Yorke, president of the Greater Accra chapter of the Ghana Medical Association. “Ghana stands a chance of losing everything if the direction is not changed in COVID-19 management,” Yorke said.
Health system near saturation?
This rising number of COVID-19 cases is gradually filling up health facilities across the country as more positive cases are recorded with each passing day.
In the Ashanti Region, for instance, COVID-19 treatment and isolation centres are full, forcing health officials to take patients to other wards.
The Ghana Medical Association said this week that over 120 doctors and nurses in the region have contracted the coronavirus disease.
The Ashanti Regional medical director of health, Emmanuel Tinkorang, told Asaase Radio that the regional health directorate is negotiating with a private hospital facility to provide 70 additional beds for treating COVID-19 patients. Twenty additional beds are also expected to come on stream at the Kumasi South Hospital, where 20 beds are already dedicated to coronavirus care.