The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has reassured Ghanaians that it will continue to intensify preparedness activities and heighten surveillance at all points of entry to prevent any suspected case of coronavirus (COVID-19) into the country.
The assurance comes after Nigeria, the first African country in the Sub Sahara and a neighboring country recorded its first confirmed case of the deadly disease.
Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director General of the GHS, in a statement issued in Accra and copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) entreated the general public to stick to the following precautionary measures of:
Regularly wash hands with soap under running water or if possible use hand sanitizers regularly, practice common cough/sneezing etiquette such as covering of mouth with handkerchief or tissue paper when coughing or sneezing, if you have recently arrived from any of the countries that have reported a case.
It advise that people stayed away from crowd (self-quarantine) for at least 14 days and in cases of persistent cough or fever, contact the call centre for assistance on these lines; 055 2222 004, 055 2222 005, 050 9497700, 055 8439 868.
“Do not visit any health centre/facility on your own if you have just returned from any of the affected countries, and you are exhibiting symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Call the numbers above for assistance,” it said.
The statement entreated citizens to temporary avoid non-essential visit to affected countries.
It said, in order to streamline communications and avoid creating fear and panic, it advised the media to speak to only designated experts whose contact has been given below:
The Director General, Ghana Health Service-Dr. Patrick Kuma-Abaoagye, the Director Public Health Dr. Badu Sarkodie, the Deputy Director, Disease Surveillance Dept. Dr. Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe and Dr Dennis Laryea, the Port Health Coordinator.
It urged that all media enquiries should also be directed to the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service.
Citizens are requested to avoid spreading messages on social media that has the potential to cause fear and panic if the source is not authenticated by the Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service.
It also encouraged the media to devote airtime time in educating the general public on the preventive measures they may need to adopt to avoid infection and the spread of the disease.
“We will continue to monitor the situation globally and update the general public accordingly” it said.
Nigeria is the 49th country to report a coronavirus case, but one of the first in Africa.
In China, the epicentre of the deadly disease – the National Health Commission on Friday reported at least 44 new coronavirus deaths, bringing to 2,788 the number of fatalities nationwide.
Coronavirus has killed more than 2,800 people and infected more than 83,000 worldwide.