National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for the Yapei-Kusawgu constituency in the Northern region, John Jinapor, has decried the inability of the country’s COVID-19 testing centres to quickly clear the backlog of already sampled cases causing a pile of the country’s samples.
John Jinapor believes that once the cases continue piling until after two weeks, the government’s much-touted claim of being ahead of the virus is only a facade.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, Ghana’s leading COVID-19 testing centre, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research disclosed that it has cleared all of its backlog of COVID-19 samples, giving it room to conduct tests and provide results within 24 hours. However, the country is still awaiting the test results of some 1,982 COVID-19 samples from the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR).
Speaking on Peace FM, Mr John Jinapor argued that once the country is not ahead of testing, it is simply not ahead of the virus as Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has consistently insisted.
He urged the Akufo-Addo government to ramp up its testing capacity to keep pace with the spread of the virus which has affected some 2,719 persons in 12 regions in the country.
“Today I listened to Dr Okoe-Boye and he said we still have a backlog of samples we are yet to test. If you are a country and you are not ahead of testing and it will take at least 2 weeks to test samples, you don’t know whether that person is positive or negative and so within those two weeks you can imagine what will happen. So, we are not ahead of the virus.”
“The luck in Africa is that the rate of infection in sub-Saharan Africa is low compared to what is happening in Western countries. I mean there is no doubt about that. The data proves the rate of infection is very low but still if we are almost getting to 3,000 for a country such as Ghana, then it’s very alarming. I will say ramp up our actions. We can’t continue our old ways because the cases are increasing and more regions are being covered. So, it calls for very serious actions,” he noted.
In order to have an organized plan in dealing with the pandemic, the MP called for the compilation of a national document that will guide government’s response to fighting COVID-19.
“I think we must have a national document from the government on the pandemic, some countries have done it…so that we can look at it and give suggestions. The rate of increment is alarming for me, looking at the lockdown period and post lockdown period so we have to take more proactive measures to combat this,” he said in the interview monitored by ABC News.