The Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, has disclosed that the leading variant of the COVID-19 virus in the country and among communities is the Delta variant.
According to him, despite the increase in cases of the Omicron variant in the country, its Delta counterpart remains dominant in terms of number of persons affected. Mr Kuma-Aboagye explained that preventive measures such as handwashing, mask-wearing still works against contacting of the virus. He revealed that the vaccines equally still work although there has been evidence of some “escape” and all that is required is intensification of safety protocols.
“We saw the first group of about 34. That was what was at the airport at the time. We have sequenced about sixty-six community samples [and] they were negative. The current one is giving us some Omicron in the country. We are talking about seven of them have been reported within the communities sampled but that is to be expected… But the leading variant is the Delta among the communities”.Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye
Commenting on whether the country is in control of the surge in Omicron cases, Dr Kuma-Aboagye emphasized that there is the need for the right system to be put in place in dealing with the variant. He noted that his outfit is committed to ensuring that the rising cases of Omicron are dealt with.
“So far, we feel that the right things are being done… We have a very straightforward testing policy [and] so the fewer the contacts the fewer the tests…”Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye
Importation of variant in the country
The GHS boss expressed that despite the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Ghana, a fourth wave of the pandemic is yet to occur. He explained that existing records do not speak to the presence of a fourth wave in the country.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye underscored government’s commitment to preventing a fourth wave of the pandemic, via the enforcement of strict compliance with the relevant COVID-19 safety protocols.
“Oh no, we won’t say we are in the 4th wave at all. What we are in is that we have seen signs that if we don’t take action, we can be in it. Last year… we all saw what happened and how we ended up where we are. A lot of the things we realized there was the Christmas parties that cascaded into January. By 28th [and] 29th of January, the numbers had started going up…”Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye
Dr Kuma Aboagye revealed that there is the need to do something to reduce the importation of the variant in the country, especially since data coming in shows that about “75% of all the people” who test positive at the airport are unvaccinated. He indicated that his outfit will ensure that Covid-19 cases are reduced significantly with the new vaccine mandate for international travellers.
“That airport testing is a very good indicator of what is coming. This year, as of November, we had recorded about 240, and if you saw what happened in January this year, that tells you that we need to be more cautious, about what is coming”.Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye