COVID-19: Police enforces face mask wearing protocol in Wa amidst new cases

face masks
Photo By Medsile Via Iwaria

Following the emergence of new cases of COVID-19 in the Upper West Region, the Regional Police Command has resumed strict enforcement of the wearing of the face mask among the public in Wa.

This time, the Police are not just enforcing but also distributing face masks free through its patrol teams to members of the public who do not have some to wear.

For about three months now, the region was without an active case, which resulted in the lowering of the enforcement on wearing of the face masks among the public.

However, in the first week of August, 2021, health authorities in the region reported eight new cases of COVID-19 out of which six were recorded in the Wa Municipality and one each from Lawra Municipality and the Lambussie District.

Chief Inspector Gideon Ohene Boateng, the Head of Public Affairs at the Regional Police Command, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency under the, “Mobilizing Media for Fighting COVID-19 project being implemented by the Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) in collaboration with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) said the exercise formed part of measures to ensure compliance with the protocols to limit the spread of the virus as new cases are beginning to emerge.

“The exercise forms part of the advocacy processes by the Regional Police Command to make the wearing of the nose masks attractive and part of the daily activities of the public”, he said.

Chief Inspector Boateng identified the Kejetia main market, the Wa main traffic, and the National Investment Bank (NIB) area as key public places that would be constantly patrolled by the team to enforce and distribute the face masks.

The Regional Police Command intends to also enforce all COVID-19 protocols and advised the public to adhere to the protocols to protect themselves from either getting infected with the virus or spreading it to other people and also to avoid any trouble with the police for breaching the protocols.
Wearing of face mask is one of the important protocols recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to halt the spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr John Maakpe, the Regional Health Promotion Officer and Head of the COVID-19 Risk Communication Team, said they were doing contact tracing and collection of samples for testing purposes for the eight new cases recorded.

He disclosed that the region now had a testing site located at the Wa Municipal Hospital, which according to him, made it a lot easier for them with regards to testing of samples as compared to previously where they had to send samples to Accra and later to Tamale for testing.

Meanwhile, according to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) COVID-19 update portal, the total number of confirmed cases as of August 11, 2021, stands at 109,022; the total number of recoveries/discharge 101,365; the total number of deaths 892; the total number of new cases is 345; and the total number of active cases 6,765.

Currently, the total number of COVID-19 cases recorded so far in the Upper West Region stands at 515 cases with six active cases and 19 deaths since 2020.

Ghana’s population is estimated at 30 million people whereas the total number of vaccines administered in the country so far stands at 1,271,393 comprising 865,422 first doses and 405,971 first and second doses as at July 14, 2021.

For the Gender distribution, men contracted the virus more than the women as they are responsible for 57 per cent of the total number of confirmed cases as compared to 42 per cent for the women according to the GHS COVID-19 update.

Masks according to the WHO is a key measure to suppress transmission and save lives – “masks should be used as part of a comprehensive ‘Do it all’ approach including physical distancing, avoiding crowded, closed and closed-contact settings, good ventilation, cleaning hands, covering sneezes and coughs, and more”.

It said depending on the type (medical masks, non-medical masks, fabric masks); masks could be used for either protection of healthy persons or to prevent onward transmission.

Medical masks are recommended for health workers in clinical settings; anyone feeling unwell including people with slight symptoms such as muscle aches, slight cough, sore throat, or fatigue; anyone awaiting COVID-19 test results or who has tested positive; and people caring for someone who is suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 outside of health facilities.

It is also recommended for the following groups including people aged 60 or over, people of any age with underlying health conditions including chronic respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, immunocompromised patients and diabetes mellitus.

Non-medical or fabric masks could be used by the general public under the age of 60 and who do not have underlying health conditions.

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