Senior Research Scientist at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Dr Michael Owusu has warned that more than half of Ghana’s population faces a possible risk of contracting the COVID-19 disease if laid-down precautionary measures are not adhered to.
According to Dr Owusu, the country also stands a potential risk of losing about 1.4 million of its aged population if the transmission of the pandemic is not contained.
Speaking on Accra based Starr FM, Monday, Dr Owusu indicated that with the recording of community transmissions, the country should expect the cases to shoot up considerably to the point that up to 50 to 60 Ghanaians may likely be infected with the disease.
“Once there is community transmissions, we should expect that there will be spikes in this virus prevalence so if we decide not to adhere to all the precautions that have currently been laid down, we should expect that it is likely that between 50 to 60% of Ghanaians will be exposed.
“We are about 28 million, we should expect about 14 to 15 million people to have this. The aged group in Ghana from the 2018 data is about 5% which is about
1.4 million, if we decide not to adhere to all the directives we should predict that 1.4 million who are 50 years and above are going to lose their lives,” he indicated.
Using Italy’s current predicament of recording hundreds of deaths in 24 hours, many experts, including the Bureau of Public Safety are advocating for a lockdown of the country since Ghana’s existing health infrastructure and resources may not be adequate to fight the mass spread of the virus.
However, according to the KNUST Scientist, a lot of considerations and structural planning such as the provision of incentives for citizens must be considered before the government can consider a complete lockdown.
In the interim, he advised the rotation of market days to reduce huge numbers of people at a time and instruction of public transports to limit their number of passengers.
“A lot has to go for a lockdown. I don’t think from what I am seeing we are prepared. A lockdown involves a lot of thinking and a lot of structural planning to enable us to do this. A lot of people in Ghana are in the informal sector, there are some who will not get anything to live by if they don’t go to the market to sell so the various government agencies, the MCEs, the DCEs must begin to have a plan.
“We can limit movement, we can make people sit indoors but we must begin to think. If we have to give people incentives for them to stay indoors, we should begin to do that. If we have to begin the rotation of market days so that the numbers will reduce, we should begin thinking about this.
“If we have to begin to instruct trotro drivers to space in between passengers or to make available sanitizers for them to use so that they can reduce spread, we have to do that. At a point in time, there has to be a lockdown for us to be able to do proper contact tracing and for us to be able to get those who have the disease and test them and isolate them,” he added.