The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Bernard Oko-Boye, has said Ghana’s 0.5 per cent COVID-19 mortality rate means for every 1,000 cases, there could be five deaths.

Currently, Ghana’s COVID-19 death toll is 153 following the death of five more patients, the Ghana Health Service has reported.

Also, 763 new cases have been confirmed, taking the nation’s total caseload to 28,430.

The confirmed cases were part of samples taken from 7 June to 16 July 2020.

The lab results, however, were reported on July 17.

So far, the total number of recoveries is 24,901.

This means the active cases stand at 3, 376.

Updating Parliament on Ghana’s handling of the pandemic, Dr Oko-Boye said the country has, so far, spent GHS34m on testing alone.

The figure, according to him, is minus the expenditure used on expanding the testing capacity.

In a statement read on behalf of the sector Minister, Dr Oko-Boye touted Ghana’s handling of the pandemic vis-à-vis how other countries in the world have done theirs. 

According to him, “Ghana’s mortality rate, deducing from the statistics, is 0.5 per cent. This means, for every thousand cases of COVID-19, Ghana could record 5 deaths. Although any COVID-19 death is regrettable and unfortunate, it is important to note that Ghana’s COVID-19 death rate remains one of the lowest in the world.”

He attributed the country’s low mortality rate to the efficient management of the situation by the government, which, in his view, makes Ghana’s situation better than that of other African countries.

“A look at these countries tells you the situation in other jurisdictions. Israel has 0.9, Morocco has 1.6, Mali has a percentage of 5 per cent of mortalities, South Africa has had 5,033 deaths with a mortality of 1.4 per cent. You’ll realise, immediately Mr Speaker, that Ghana’s mortality of 0.5 is one that is low compared to the others. This low figure didn’t happen by accident; the policy of enhanced contact-tracing that allows our health system to pick cases that are asymptomatic, is mainly responsible for the low mortality rate”, he said.

Dr Oko-Boye also disclosed that the country spends about $100, on the average, on each test.

Touching on how much the government has spent so far on testing since the outbreak of the virus in the country in March, Dr Oko-Boye said: “Ghana has done 346, 990 tests so far, with a positivity rate of 7.9 per cent. By the way, one PCR test costs an average of $100, meaning the Akufo-Addo government has spent over $34.6m on testing alone, not to mention the expenditure on expansion of the testing capacity.”

The statement attracted comments from members of the house, with the Minority wanting to know how the government has used funds it has accrued so far, to fight the virus.

They, thus, want Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to clarify the issue when he appears in Parliament on Thursday to present the mid-year budget review statement.