The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has issued a public alert over the outbreak of novel Coronavirus infection in China.
The GHS in the alert copied to all regional offices in the country urged health officers to reactivate its surveillance activities.
The facilities have also been alerted to prepare for the management of cases in case of an outbreak in the country.
The alert follows a directive by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for countries to initiate control and preventive measures against the further spread of novel Coronavirus infection which has already killed four people in China.
Health authorities in China confirmed an outbreak of a novel Coronavirus infection on 7th January 2020 in Wuhan Province following a series of reported cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in December 2019.
The outbreak was linked to a local animal market (spread from animals to humans) but the infection has also been found to spread from one person to the other.
It can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes on another person.
The disease is characterized by fever, cough and difficulties in breathing.
Three other countries namely Thailand, South Korea and Japan and United Arab Emirates, have also reported cases.
A statement signed by the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said the health sector has increased
surveillance at points of entry especially the Kotoka International Airport.
“Passengers from China will undergo enhanced screening procedures including the administration of health questionnaire,” he said.
The sector minister further observed that there is in-country capacity to diagnose 2019-nCoV through laboratory testing of the appropriate samples by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.
He however urged the public to practice personal hygiene including regular washing of hands with soap and water and hand rubbing with alcohol where available.
“Keep a distance of at least one step (one meter) from a person showing signs of fever, cough and difficulty in breathing.
“If contact with a sick person or with potentially infected surfaces or objects occurs, those involved must not touch their eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands,” he said.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu again advised the public to be physically active, drink plenty of fluids, eat well, reduce stress and have enough sleep.
“People should seek treatment immediately if infection is suspected, if symptoms occur or when advised by a health worker,” he stated.
“We hereby ask the general public and all stakeholders to support in efforts at preventing 2019-nCoV in Ghana,” he added.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri