Scientists at the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR), one of Ghana’s two COVID-19 testing institutions are calling for aggressive testing by the government to fully disclose the accurate number of persons who have contracted the COVID-19 infection.
According to the two, Dr. Michael Owusu, and Dr. Augustina Angelina Sylverken, it is only when mass testing is conducted that the country will know its true status with regards to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Mass testing of about 185 persons currently under quarantine in the country has added 41 cases to the existing 27 confirmed cases, bringing the country’s total to 68.
Following this, calls for a lockdown of the country have increased but speaking on JoyNews PM express, a senior research scientist at KCCR, Dr. Michael Owusu said the country only needs a selective lockdown now for testing to be effective.
“An ideal situation would be to go for a lockdown. But what type of lockdown are we looking at? Is it a total lockdown or is it a selective lockdown. I will go for a selective lockdown which is inferred by evidence of data and this is quite important because I believe strongly that there are hotspots in clusters where the disease is currently circulating where we need to have information and data on these hotspots.
“We will know how many cases we really have when we do aggressive testing of the communities which have recorded cases of the virus. All the contact traces where the community transmissions occurred and all the places where we identified the people, we should be able to do aggressive testing of all people with a similar close condition, then we can gradually know,” he indicated.
Dr. Augustina Angelina Sylverken, a virologist with KCCR who also spoke with Accra-based Starr Fm stated that the best way for the country to protect itself from the mass spread of the virus is when mass testing is encouraged.
“It is not only about locking down, but it is also about testing. The WHO is proposing continuous testing, now if you test and it turns out to be positive, you trace, you test again and then you manage. I’m sure if we apply all these things, we will be able to maintain the numbers we have and even hopefully halt the transmission of this deadly virus.”
“We need to be testing, testing, testing, and testing and tracing, managing, testing and isolating people and all the other things we can learn from the other countries,” she indicated.