Scale up efforts to prevent importation of COVID-19 omicron variant – GMA to govt

The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has implored government to step up efforts at limiting importation of COVID-19 at allentry ports of the country with the emergence of the omicron variant.

It said in a statement jointly signed by its President, Dr Frank Serebour and General Secretary, Dr Titus Beyuo respectively, that strengthening mitigation measures was critical to prevent the country from plunging into a fourth wave of the pandemic.

“We urge government to continue efforts at limiting importation of COVID-19 by increased testing at the ports of entry as well as sequencing of all positive cases to enable prompt detection and containment of mutant strains such as the omicron variant,” it said.

Recognising the downward trend in active cases of COVID-19, in recent times and increased availability of vaccines in the country, the GMA lauded all stakeholders for the feat attained.

It nonetheless urged government to continue with efforts at securing more vaccines for the nation as the Christmas festivities approached.

The Association further encouraged Ghanaians to avail themselves for vaccination against the COVID-19 virus cautioning that, “all persons must ensure strict adherence to the existing COVID-19 prevention protocols at all events or activities from now onwards and especially during the festive period.”

Touching on reports of outbreak ofyellow fever in parts of the country, the GMA urged persons living in affected areas to co-operate with ongoing vaccination exercises and report any suspected case to the nearest health facility for appropriate diagnosis and management.

On November 26, 2021,the World Health Organisation (WHO) designated the variant B.1.1.529, a variant of concern and named it omicron.

Data available from South Africa where the variant was first recorded showed that in the Gauteng Province, the R0 (1.93) of omicron variant was higher than that of the Delta variant (R0 of 1.47), meaning the new variant may be potentially more infectious than the delta variant.

It is however unknown if the new strain may evade immunity acquired from past infection or vaccination but some countries have begun have begun imposing travel restrictions from several African countries following the discovery of the variant.

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) says the country has not recorded any case of the omicron variant yet. 

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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