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COVID-19 SCARE: GMA BACKS CALLS FOR SUSPENSION OF MASS REGISTRATION IN E/R

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has joined growing calls for the suspension of the ongoing mass registration exercise in the Eastern Region in line with keeping with preventive measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

A statement signed by the Association’s President, Dr Frank Ankobea, yesterday argued that the ongoing exercise defeated the “spirit and letter” of the directive issued by the President last Sunday on public gatherings to check spread of the disease.

“It is the considered view of the GMA that this mass registration activities by the NIA if allowed to continue could create a fertile ground for potential spread of COVID-19 endangering the lives of staff of the National Identification Authority (NIA), the communities involved and the entire nation in the process.

“This will undoubtedly be fatal for our country,” the association held insisting that the discontinuation of the registration was in the interest of public health and safety.

In addition, the GMA urged government to enforce self-isolation of all Ghanaian citizens and residents returning into the country from countries with high disease burden of COVID-19.

“The GMA also called on all civil society organisations (CSOs) and corporate Ghana to compliment government’s efforts at combating COVID-19 in the country,” it advised.

President Akufo-Addo in a public announcement on Sunday banned all public gatherings for the next four weeks to prevent further spread of the disease.

The public gatherings banned include conferences, workshops, funerals, festivals, political rallies, sporting events and religious events such as services in churches and mosques though ceremonies like private burials could proceed but with only 25 people in attendance.

Despite the ban, the NIA has proceeded with its mass registration exercise in the Eastern region in line with issuing all Ghanaians with a national identification card otherwise known as “Ghana card.”

The exercise had raised fears among the Ghanaian populace of a possible spread of the disease as some staff and citizens had complained of lack of precautionary measures at registration centres.

Ghana on Tuesday confirmed its 7th case of coronavirus involving a 35-year-old male Ghanaian citizen, who returned to Accra from France in the past 14 days.

A tweet by the Disease Surveillance Department of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) confirming the case said it was recorded at 3.00 pm in the Greater Accra region.

“This afternoon (17 March 2020), we have received report from NMIMR that indicated one (1) more confirmed case as positive for COVID-19 in Greater Accra Region.

“This is another imported case, which brings the total number of confirmed cases to seven (7). “The case is being managed in isolation and he is in stable condition,” the statement said

According to the GHS, as regards contact tracing of the six cases earlier announced, a total of 350 contacts have been identified and are being followed up.

COVID-19 is a new form of coronaviruses that is associated with respiratory disorders and characterised by symptoms such as fever, sore throat, runny nose and breathing difficulties.

To prevent contracting the infection, members of the public are advised to adhere to precautionary measures including regular washing of hands with soap under running water and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers.

Avoid shaking of hands, keep distance of at least two metres from persons with signs of fever, cough, sneezing and difficulty in breathing, do not touch face, eyes, mouth or nose with unwashed hands, be physically active, drink plenty of water, eat healthy, avoid stress and have enough sleep.

In case of suspected cases members are to call the following numbers; 0509497700, 0558439868.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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