Nigeria’s COVID-19 case: Ghanaians urged not to panic

Dr Badu Sarkodie, the Director of Public Health at the Ghana Health Service (GHS) on Friday urged Ghanaians not to panic over
the confirmed case of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in neighbouring Nigeria.

Ghana, with the support of the world Health Organisation and other relevant bodies, had strengthened and enhanced its preparedness regimes at all levels to prevent an outbreak.

The needed support, he said, had also been given to health staff to boost their confidence to manage any case that would test positive.
Dr Sarkodie was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, which sought to find out what further interventions the national technical team on COVID-19 would introduce following the reported case in Nigeria, on Friday.

“We just have to continually monitor to ensure that the relevant actions are being taken with regard to surveillance,” he said.

So far, Ghana’s Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research has tested 24 suspected cases and they have all proven negative.

Nigeria’s Health Authorities, on Thursday, February 27, confirmed its first case of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case, in Lagos State.

It involves an Italian citizen who worked in Nigeria, travelled to Italy and returned from Milan to Nigeria on February 25, this year.

More than a dozen countries have recorded their first cases of Coronavirus in the past 48 hours, with Tudors Adhanom, the Director-General of the

World Health Organization, cautioning that the outbreak had become a‘potential pandemic’.

Dr Sarkodie said though the case in Nigeria was unfortunate, but it was good that it was picked up early – without delay to prevent an outbreak.

The situation could have been in Ghana, he said, as the two countries shared similar risks.

“The monitoring is very critical; we need to ensure that passengers are watched closely to pick up any case that may arrive,” he emphasised, but added that, “the country is positioned to pick it early, investigate and contain it”.

Jingles in the various local languages would soon be aired to boost the mass media campaign on prevention and early detection.

Nigeria is the 49th country to report a coronavirus case, but the first in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Sarkodie urged citizens to adhere to the preventive measures that had been recommended for their safety.

They should regularly and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water, and use alcohol-based hand sanitisers.

They should also maintain at least one and half metres (five feet) distance between themselves and anyone who had a cough or sneeze.

“People coughing persistently or sneezing should stay indoors or keep a social distance, but not mix with a crowd. They must adhere to good respiratory hygiene by covering mouths and noses with a handkerchief or tissue while sneezing or coughing,” he cautioned.

Coronavirus has since December 2019, killed more than 2,800 people and infected more than 83,000 worldwide.

Stock markets, general trading and businesses have been badly hit, while many social and sporting activities, which involve a crowd, in many of the 55 affected countries have been cancelled or suspended.