A Global Health Expert has predicted an increase in Ghana’s coronavirus cases after President Akufo-Addo lifted a three-week partial lockdown which was put in place to curb the spread of the disease.
Dr John Amuasi, who is a lecturer at the Global Health Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), says the kind of data needed to determine the true infection rate and whether it was under control in Ghana is not available. Therefore, President Akufo-Addo’s decision could have been based on other factors.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Dr Amuasi, who is also with the KNUST Centre for Collaborative Research said “there surely, based on the decision we have taken, will be more cases of coronavirus and coronavirus is going to spread faster.
“What I cannot determine is what the impact of that spreading or increase in infection will be,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo in his 7th address to the nation since the outbreak of the coronavirus, announced the lifting of a partial lockdown that affected Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Kumasi.
He said “in view of our ability to undertake aggressive contact tracing of infected persons, the enhancement of our capacity to test, the expansion in the numbers of our treatment and isolation centres, our better understanding of the dynamism of the virus, the ramping up of our domestic capacity to produce our own personal protective equipment, sanitisers and medicines, the modest successes chalked at containing the spread of the virus in Accra and Kumasi, and the severe impact on the poor and vulnerable, I have taken the decision to lift the three-week-old restriction on movements in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area and Kasoa, and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area and its contiguous districts, with effect from 1am on Monday, 20th April. In effect, tomorrow will see the partial lockdown in Accra and Kumasi being lifted.”
But the announcement has been met with mixed reactions. While some are happy, others have wondered why the lockdown has been lifted, especially when the coronavirus cases have increased to 1042, as of Sunday, April 19, 2020.
Dr Amuasi said based on data and a clear knowledge of the epidemiology of the disease, the decision which he believes was not taken from a public health perspective, would rather lead to an increase in the number of cases.
Comparing Ghana’s situation to that of Singapore and Hong Kong, he said the two countries practiced a tightening and loosening system where lockdowns were instituted and lifted at different periods.
“Singapore did not institute testing on the population of migrant workers and this has led to a second wave [and] on the other hand, Hong Kong that maintained a continuous lockdown, has been able to very well manage a second wave.
“But you can only do this at a place like that when you have a small population size, the geography is well defined and you can keep your borders tight and track the movement of people,” he added.
It will be difficult to do that in Ghana, he said, stressing the need for the country to prepare for more cases.
“I am not saying we should prepare for more deaths and destruction. I am not saying it is going to collapse our economy although it has the potential to do it but, if the argument is that we are following the number and we are good to go and the infections won’t go up, I’ll strongly contest that.
“…The medicine must not be worse than the disease itself and it is hard for me to tell what the ultimate disease will be, if we continue in a lockdown situation but what I want to make sure is very clear is that we’ve got to prepare for more cases of coronavirus…there will be more cases based on this decision.”