COVID-19: No official communication from Botswana on the Omicron strain – GHS

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Ghana Health Services (GHS)
Ghana Health Services (GHS)

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) says it has not received any official communication from Botswana confirming that the Omicron COVID-19 strain has been detected in four Ghanaian diplomats in that country.

“Per the International health regulations practice, Botswana is expected to send an email to inform Ghana if the virus has been detected in any Ghanaian in their country,”

Dr Dennis Laryea, Acting Head of Disease Surveillance at the GHS, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra on Monday that the service has increased surveillance to look out for the Omicron strain to ensure that it is contained if detected in the country.

“We are now getting to know the variant and the evidence of what it does, I would like to state on authority that the virus has not been detected in Ghana, he said.

One Dr Alfred Rabashemi Madigele, a medical doctor in Botswana in a Facebook post on November 28 alleged that the omicron strain has been detected in four Ghanaian diplomats.

“Why are we not telling the world that the variant has been detected in four diplomats of Ghanaian Origin, why are we not telling the world to not only target Botswana but target Ghana and other West African countries,” Dr Madigele wrote in his Facebook post.

The Omicron variant, designated as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) was first detected in Botswana on November 11.

The WHO says the Omicron variant has more than 30 mutations on its spike protein that is more than what is carried by the delta strain raising concerns if prior infections still provide some immunity .

Dr Patrick Kuma – Aboagye, Dr General of the GHS in an interaction with the media on Sunday on additional measures of the national Covid-19 response said the Government would enhance contact tracing and risk communication to control COVID-19 infections during Christmas.

He stated that the number of COVID-19 cases recorded at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in November 2020, increased from 168 to 205 in November 2021.

The Director General said a surge in COVID-19 cases among international arrivals at the Airport was largely expected due to an anticipated increase in the number of arrivals during the Christmas season.

He said the GHS would strictly enforce all COVID-19 safety Protocols at the KIA and all entry points as well as increase surveillance and monitor the presence of the Omicron strain in persons returning from countries of concern.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment, however, some will become seriously ill and require medical attention.

The Ghana Health Service has advised that the public adhered to all safety protocols such as the wearing of face mask, use of hand sanitizers, frequent washing of hands with soap under running water, social distancing, and the wearing of a face mask.

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