The Government Coronavirus Response Team has indicated that Ghana will not conduct mass testing for the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Contact tracing and testing, it indicated, remains the only viable option that the government will pursue to ensure people who have come into contact with infected patients are tested and treated.
The team disclosed these when it addressed Parliament’s Committee of the Whole on the status of Ghana’s fight against the disease on Thursday.
The team that addressed the House included Dr. Anarfi Asamoah Baah, Presidential Co-Ordinator of Government‘s Coronavirus Response Programme; Dr. Anthony Nsiah Asare, Presidential Advisor on Health and the Medical Director of Parliament Dr. Prince Pambo.
In his address, Dr. Nsiah Asare argued that testing is not necessarily an assurance of safety since testing negative today is not indicative a person would not test positive the next time.
This situation, he said, therefore requires the testing to be conducted continuously probably every four days because of the incubation period of the disease.
He questioned whether the government has the resources to embark on such exercise and stressed there is no cost-benefit on mass testing.
He said, “Following the COVID-19 protocol remains the only effective way of staying ahead of the disease and ensuring the safety of people.”
The team admitted that the rate of infections is going up and indicated it will be impossible to determine when the country’s infection rate would peak.
According to him, as at 23rd June 2020, 283,124 persons have been tested out of which 15,473 have tested positive for the disease.
He indicated that 11,431 have recovered and discharged because in their current status they are unable to infect anybody.
He disclosed that the testing team is not waiting for people to exhibit symptoms before being tested but stressed that all contacts that have been traced from a patient are going to be subjected to the test.
Dr. Nsiah-Asare disclosed that Ghana is conducting its own specific research on the disease to guide policymaking but indicated outcomes of these researches are shared across the world with other countries who have agreed to partner in the fight against the coronavirus.
He warned that the Coronavirus disease is real and currently spreading at the community level.
He appealed to members of the House as representatives of the people to help in the education on the disease to stem the tide of infection.