Tue, 01 Dec 2020

A Ghanaian doctor treats a patient with acupuncture therapy at the China Traditional Herbal Hospital in Accra, Ghana, on Oct. 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Xu Zheng)

Health experts have warned of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Ghana as political campaigning intensifies ahead of the country's presidential and parliamentary polls next month.

ACCRA, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Health experts have warned of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Ghana as political campaigning intensifies ahead of the country's presidential and parliamentary polls next month.

According to the Ghana Health Service (GHS), a second wave of the pandemic in the West African country could be more devastating if people failed to adhere to the safety protocols.

Director of Health Promotion Division of the GHS and Leader of the Risk Communication for COVID-19 National Task Force, Dacosta Aboagye, told journalists the posture of the public was causing a gradual rise in active cases, and that if care was not taken, the nation would see a major rise soon.

The country's Electoral Commission recently cleared 12 presidential aspirants out of 17 to contest the polls and already the political parties and their candidates are crisscrossing the country to get their messages across to the people amid large gatherings without recourse to COVID-19 safety protocols.

Aboagye asked the political parties to organize their activities in a way that will not draw back the progress made in the fight against the pandemic.

According to him, the mass gatherings at political events, without recourse to the safety protocols, especially the wearing of face masks, were a recipe for new infections.

"People have thrown caution to the wind and are no longer wearing face masks; people are not washing their hands or sanitizing as they should and this is dangerous for us as a country," he said.

Ghana had been praised for its fight against the virus but the expert cautioned, the country was not out of the woods yet hence urged sustained efforts on safety protocols.

"The case count is shooting up; I plead with Ghanaians to know that they have a responsibility to adhere to the safety protocols because if everyone complies, the cases should be coming down," he said.

A research report released here by the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) in collaboration with the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) observes that about 20 per cent of people living within the Ghanaian capital and Kasoa, a town west of Accra, may have been exposed to COVID-19.

"What we are reporting is probably an underestimation because, first of all, these tests that we use are not 100 percent sensitive so they could miss quite a good percentage of people who have been exposed," said Gordon Awandare, the WACCBIP director.

According to the GHS, the country's active cases have been rising in the past few weeks. Ghana's total confirmed cases on Monday stood at 48,200 with 320 deaths.

Ghanaians will go to the polls on December 7 to elect a president and 275 legislators. ■

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