Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Minister for Health

The Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has stated that the government is not relying on common sense in its preparatory efforts against the Coronavirus infection (Covid-19).

According to him, government is relying on and working with the advice of health experts and relevant stakeholders including the World Health Organisation (WHO) for its emergency preparedness against the disease.

The Minister stated this when he provided Parliament with an update of the country’s preparedness against the deadly coronavirus.

The statement was an apparent response to the Ranking Member of the Health Committee in Parliament, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, who made an allusion that common sense dictates that evacuation of Ghanaian students from Wuhan should have been done at a time when the risk was low and not when the risk has more than quadrupled.

The Juaboso legislator expressed displeasure at what he described as unsatisfactory efforts by the Ministry of Health about the disease.

He noted that the WHO has identified gaps in the emergency preparedness being touted by the Minister for Health.

Mr Akandoh claimed that the government has not yet acknowledged the seriousness of the spread of the Covid-19.

“Looking at the speed the Covid-19 has travelled, we need to pursue strong measures to be able to combat this virus.

“An initial amount of GH¢35 million is needed but the Minister of Health has only allowed GH¢2.5 million. This brings into question the government’s commitment to fighting this Covid-19 virus,” he claimed.

However, Mr Agyeman Manu stressed that despite the gaps that have been accessed, the picture is not as desperate as being painted by the ranking member.

He explained that the government has allocated an additional US$ 2 million for utilization on the emergency preparedness.

The Ministry of Health, he said, has discussed with the Ministry of Finance about the additional funding it would require in its preparedness.

He stressed that the Ghana government has been discouraged to evacuate its students from Wuhan following which China imposed a complete ban on travel and evacuation.

“If you look at the trend the disease is traveling across the world, over 80% of the infections that have been found elsewhere outside china are coming from cases of evacuation.

“You can track people who have travelled from the epicentre to some areas and those who have been found to have contracted the disease travelled from somewhere else,” he stated.

“The case in Nigeria came from Italy and the cases in Italy came from China and the same route applies to Senegal,” he added.

The government’s hesitation, he said, to access risk before rushing to evacuate is a very good decision.

He indicated that the Ghanaian students in China are comfortable after they were provided with provisions from Ghana and some allowances.

The Minister disclosed that the students are being talked to through psychologists in order to allay their fears and therefore the agitation felt when the infection started has subsided.

He assured that not a single Ghanaian has contracted the Covid-19, not in China or here in Ghana and stressed the government will ensure the situation remains the same.