COVID-19: Strengthen contact-tracing, testing as restrictions ease – GMA

The General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr Justice Yankson has called for the intensification of contact-tracing and testing as the country further eases the COVID-19 restrictions.

He explained that the testing capacity has to be rigorous now because with the intended opening of airports, schools and the country’s land and sea borders in coming days, it means that more people will be trooping into the Ghana, hence the need to beef up logistics, testing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Dr Yankson also noted that intensified contact-tracing and testing is necessary because, generally the adherence to COVID-19 protocols has decline, after the restrictions were first eased.

Speaking to Class News on Monday, 17 August 2020, Dr Yankson said: “I think that one thing we need to all understand at this point is that our testing capacity has to be rigorous at this point. The reason is that we are not just dealing with the inflow we are going to get once the airports are opened”.

“When we ease the restrictions, we should be in the position to test as many people as possible as and when the need arises. For example, we are going to let the continuing students go back to school in the tertiary institutions. These are huge numbers”, he noted, adding: “There is the need for enhanced contact-tracing and to ensure that our capacity to test is at its best,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo, in his 15th COVID-19 update address to the nation on Sunday, 16 August 2020 announced the reopening of selected universities in the country for continuing students on “24 August 2020 to finish their academic year.”

“Through online learning portals, almost all continuing students in our universities have completed their studies for the academic year with the exception of the University of Cape Coast, University of Health and Allied Sciences, technical universities and some other colleges,” adding that: “After extensive stakeholder consultations, the decision has been taken for continuing students of these tertiary institutions to return to school on 24th August to finish their academic year.”

The President further indicated that all tertiary institutions across the country will be disinfected.

“Just as was done for final-year students who returned to school, government through the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service will ensure that all these tertiary institutions are disinfected,” he said.

He also disclosed that the Kotoka International Airport is likely to be reopened by 1 September 2020.

“Under my instructions, the Ministry of Aviation, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and the Ghana Airports Co. Ltd., have been working, with the Ministry of Health and its agencies, to ascertain our readiness to reopen our airport.

“I want to ensure that we are in a position to test every single passenger that arrives in the country to avoid the spread of the virus.

“The outcome of that exercise will show us the way, and determine when we can reopen our border by air.

“I am hoping that, by God’s grace, we will be ready to do so by 1st September,” he announced.

“Until further notice, our borders, by air, land and sea, remain closed to human traffic,” he stated.

He also noted that for those stranded abroad “special dispensation will continue to be given for their evacuation back to Ghana, where they will be subjected to the mandatory quarantine and safety protocols.”

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