COVID-19 update: Noguchi free for real time COVID-19 tests …after clearing 18,000 sample tests backlog

The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has completed testing of backlog of collected samples to test for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

Professor William Kwabena Ampofo, Head of Virology Department of the institute, who disclosed this yesterday, said, the backlog which numbered 18,000, have been cleared at the institute.

Addressing a press conference in Accra, Professor Ampofo indicated that the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR) was, however, yet to complete testing of 1,982 samples.

The KCCR, he said, would by tomorrow complete the backlog to clear the national backlog of samples at the testing centres.

This, he said, would enable the research institute to redirect their efforts on real time testing and report to effectively monitor whether or not there were new infections.

In a passionate speech, the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, appealed to the public to cooperate with contact tracing officers from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and allow them access to fight the spread of the disease.

The contact tracing exercise, he said, was an assured way to flatten the curve of the spread of COVID-19 in the country and should be welcomed by all.

He explained that the GHS was undertaking the exercise to protect the health of the public from contracting the disease and managing infected ones.

“Last four days or so, the Director-General told me that some of our young people doing contact tracing had been sacked when they went to some place in James Town or Bukom. Please they are coming in our interest so, if you sack them and there is one of them amongst you there, there will be a problem.They will call you nicely on telephone or they will come to your home. Please give them space.

They might have picked somebody who is positive and the person might have told them over the last three days this man, has visited this house and has visited here. And when they get your contact, they will come to you to find out how you are doing and they will take your samples that you have been contracted with the disease. So allow them, to come to your home for your own protection,” he added.

Emphasising the stay at home order, he asked Ghanaians to strictly follow the directive and avoid going out to put their health at risk.

“Coronavirus will be with us and the world at large for a very long time. There’s the need for us to stay at home as much as possible because the virus ‘does not have legs’ but it is transmitted from one human to another. Please stay at home so that the scientists can fight the virus to enable Ghana move on with its activities,” Mr Agyeman-Manu stated.

He said the relaxation of the partial lockdown was a call to Ghanaians to strictly adhere to personal hygiene protocols including regular hand washing under running water with soap, use of nose masks and practising social distancing.

For those who flout the preventive measures to put their lives at risk, the Minister said they should not endanger other members of the public with their practices.

“If any anyone of us wants to contract the disease and wants to die voluntarily, the rest of us don’t want to die. Don’t bring your death to join us. Don’t think that you are protecting just yourselves by adhering to protocols. You are helping all of us, so it is not your choice.”

Ghana’s coronavirus case count has jumped to 2,719 with 294 recoveries and a death toll of 18.

The update on the GHS website indicated 550 new confirmed cases two days after the previous update which stood at 2,169.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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