COVID-19: Researcher urges gov’t to start random testing for new variant

Dr. John Amuasi, a Senior Research Fellow, Global Health and Infectious Diseases Research Group, believes a new variant of the coronavirus is responsible for the recent surge in cases and increased deaths.

He has urged the government to set routine surveillance sites across the country to better assess the situation.

Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Dr. Amuasi said the testing needed to be “randomly done on a regular basis every day or every two to three days so that we can truly measure our rate of spread.”

He stressed that this process would be critical in formulating public health measures because the country is currently not testing enough.

“So what about the myriads that will be ill but will not go to the hospital and the myriads and that will be infected but will not be overtly ill? It should tell you that what we see is only the tip of the iceberg,” he argued.

Dr. Amuasi also expressed concern that Ghana is not actively looking for a new variant of the coronavirus within community spread.

The new variant has only been detected in arriving persons at the airport.

“If at the point you started looking, you found people coming in with it, it is very possible some had already come in before you started looking,” he noted.

In the most recent update from the state, 13 more persons have died from the virus bringing the country’s death toll to 390.

Ghana currently has 3,940 active COVID-19 cases after 625 new infections were recorded.

Though the government has said the surge in cases is due to the continuous breach of mandatory safety protocols, Dr. Amuasi believes the new variant may be responsible for the worsening situation with the virus in Ghana.

“There is an additional factor in there which is accounting for the increased spread and especially the increased number of deaths and I don’t see anything else but the new variant.”

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