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COVID-19 could kill 15,000 in Ghana but we are prepared to prevent it – Presidential Advisor

Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare

The deadly coronavirus could infect close to 10% of Ghanaians based on a hypothetical model, Presidential Advisor on Health, Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, has said.

Ghana has recorded 1,042 infections, and 99 patients have overcome the disease to recover fully. Nine who succumbed to the virulent infection have died.

According to Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, “we have 30million population here [in Ghana]. We expect that about 10 per cent of the population may be infected…out of the 10 per cent, 80 per cent may not show any signs and symptoms at all, and 5 per cent of them will be very ill.”

Dr Nsiah-Asare, who was a guest in Joy New’s PM Express on Tuesday, April 22, further added: “If you look at it very well I think the five per cent who will get critically ill, about 10% of them will die, that is how the modelling is”

According to the projections, the actual figures will mean that COVID-19 will attack three million people, but 2.4 million will be asymptomatic. A total of 150,000 will be critically ill, and 15,000 people will perish due to the contagion.

The former Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) was quick to add that the model might not apply to Ghana or other African countries.

His reason was that there were a few critical cases recorded in the region and Ghana compared to Europe and other areas.

“The number of people who are in critical condition is very, very small. Out of the 1,042 that we had or those who have symptoms of 380, four of them, sometimes two,” he clarified.

“So, it means, we have a situation where this hypothesis may not be the case in Ghana, but we are preparing for this,” he stressed.

A section of the public has criticised President Nana Akufo-Addo for lifting a three-week lockdown imposed to curtail human movements that facilitated the spread of the disease.

With cases rising, critics have argued that infections and deaths could skyrocket. However, Dr Nsiah-Asare maintained that the cancellation of the restrictions was based on social and scientific factors.

He noted, “We don’t expect more serious infections, but we will get more positives coming out.”

He explained that health authorities had a better understanding of the disease. Thus, “we can predict and trace the coronavirus”.This, he said, was achieved through accelerated tracing, testing, isolating and provision of treatment for patients.

Hence the government plans to identify and treat the disease in isolated pocket areas where persons test positive. If there is a need for additional intervention where there is a high incidence of the pathogen, localised lockdowns will be adopted.

The figure places Ghana as the sixth-highest African country with COVID-19 infections. A total of 68,591 lab tests also mean that Ghana is the second African country with the highest number of tests.

Dr Nsiah-Asare explained that multiple tests were captured as part of the figure. Hence the actual number of persons who have undergone tests were lesser than 68, 591. To declare any patient as recovered, the person must record two negative tests after treatment within a period of at least 14 days.

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