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2,127 students test positive for Covid-19

Some 2,217 students have tested positive for coronavirus, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, has said.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye said the infections were detected in 351 schools across the country, with the Delta variant still a concern for health authorities.

The Delta variant was dominant in infections from Achimota School and continually being detected at other locations.

According to him, between June 14 and 16, 2021, three students were presented to the Achimota School sickbay with influenza-like symptoms.

He said all three students tested positive for the virus, prompting the activation of the Public Health Emergency Rapid Response Teams of the Greater Accra and the Okaikoi North Municipal of the Ghana Health Service.

“As of July 3, 2021, 843 students and staff of Achimota School had been sampled, 348 are boarding students, 459 are day students, 36 teaching and non-teaching staff were tested.”

Out of the available results for 550 samples, there were 135 total positive tests from the Achimota School.

The total cases recorded in Ghana are 96,402, with 93,987 recoveries.

80 cases are recorded every day in Ghana, Dr Kuma-Aboagye said.

Delta rising in Ghana

Ghana reported its first six cases of the Delta variant on June 22. These cases were among samples taken at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) at the end of April, according to Dr Yaw Bediako, CEO at Yemaachi Biotech.

The time difference between sampling and confirmation of the strain clearly presented a problem. As experts worldwide have warned, countries tend to play catch-up when it comes to viral epidemiology.

This is simply the fact that infections spread faster than testings can confirm. Dr Bediako insinuated in an interview on Joy News TV that there is reason to believe that there was already a community spread of the Delta variant in Ghana.

Public health workers and officials dread the community spread of COVID-19 for a very good reason. It becomes harder to identify and quarantine persons of interest through contact tracing. But when it comes to the Delta variant, the dangers are even scarier given what we have come to know from other jurisdictions.

However, testing in Ghana leaves much to be desired by experts such as Dr John Amuasi of the Global Health Department, School of Public Health, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).

Ghanaians are not willingly testing for COVID-19 even as the regime of restrictions continues to be relaxed, neglected and/or flouted. The public continues to live its life as though a pandemic is not with us, Dr Amuasi complained in a recent TV interview.

This laxity on the parts of the public and officials has also contributed to the “alarmingly low” rate of vaccination, according to Dr Amuasi, although the struggles of the government to secure vaccines seem to be another major impediment to this process too.

Ghana has neither the logistics nor the system to cognise in real-time or as quickly as necessary COVID-19 variants and infection rates. For instance, according to Dr Bediako at Yemaachi, “sequencing is not cheap. 100 samples cost 10k dollars”, and thus very few are done, and far between in Ghana.

Add this to the facts that people are not wearing masks and socially distancing, and what we have is a recipe for disaster. People are more likely to be hospitalised for the Delta variant if they are not vaccinated. Oxygen masks continue to be infamously in short supply in the country.

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