Members of Parliament (MPs) have unanimously urged government to intensify systems meant to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus into the country.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday, the legislators said even though the country is yet to record any incidence of the disease, it is important that preventive measures are put in place.
Nearly 60 million people are under partial or full lockdowns in cities in China, as the Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread across Asia and the rest of the world. At least 170 people are dead, and more than 7,700 cases have been confirmed in mainland China since the outbreak began in December.
Member of Parliament for Ledzokuku, Bernard Okoe Boye, said even though there is no cause for alarm, the country just needs to prepare adequately for the required action, in the eventuality of an outbreak.
“I don’t believe there is a cause for alarm. We only need to prepare ourselves adequately. Mr Speaker, the symptoms are not any different from common cold. You’re going to have a cough, headaches and sometimes joint pains.
“The only exception here is that sometimes the symptoms might be severe and the essence of speaking to this condition is to alert health personnel so that they will have a suspicion index so that they can pin corona as soon as possible. Once they suspect and investigate, we’d have supportive treatment,” Dr Okoe Boye said.
The MP for Nabdam, Mark Kurt Nawaane, for his part, threw more light on what the Ministry of Health has done so far.
“The Ministry of Health has issued statements calling on all Ghanaians to prevent the virus from entering the country and putting all regional and district healthcare officials on alert.
“There is also surveillance at all entry points in the country. At the airports, residents coming from China undergo special screening processes and Ghanaian traders travelling to China have been asked to postpone their trips, if possible,” he said.
The Ministry of Health announced in a statement that all passengers from China who come to Ghana will undergo enhanced screening and surveillance to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
The ministry subsequently designated Ridge Hospital and Tema General Hospital as centres to manage possible cases of coronavirus in the country.
It said the move is part of Ghana’s plans to prevent and control any case that may be detected in the country and ultimately protect the Ghanaian population.
Around the world
The New York Times has reported that more than a dozen nations with a handful of cases — including the United States — are isolating patients and monitoring their contacts, as well as screening travellers from China and urging people to postpone trips there.
China, with nearly 1.4 billion people, is the most populous nation on Earth, and it has taken extreme measures to try to stop the disease, first reported in December in Wuhan, a city of 11 million. The government has stopped travel in and out of that city and surrounding ones, effectively locking down tens of millions of people.
“The fact that to date we have only seen 68 cases outside China and no deaths is due, in no small part, to the extraordinary steps the government has taken to prevent the export of cases,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organisation, said at a news briefing on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has activated two hotlines for parents or guardians with wards in Wuhan and its environs.
The telephone numbers can be used by parents and guardians to contact authorities and get first-hand information on the situation on the ground.
The telephone numbers are *86 18612084232 or *86 186 12959040.
A patient was helped off an ambulance in Wuhan, China, on Sunday.