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Health News of Monday, 29 November 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

COVID-19: No cases of Omicron variant in Ghana - GHS

Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye play videoDirector-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye

GHS refutes claims Ghana has recorded Omicron variant

GHS urges Ghanaians to wear masks, vaccinate

An ex-MP in Botswana alleges 4 diplomats have contracted the new variant


Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, has denied claims that a heavily mutated new COVID-19 variant named Omicron case has been identified in the country.

According to him, no such case has been recorded in Ghana, therefore Ghanaians should disregard the false messages on social media.

"...We have not identified one (Omicron) in Ghana. All people who are tested positive at the airport, their samples are sequenced, all of them.

"We also pick samples from reference labs across the country to do sequencing. Currently, they have a bunch of 160 that they are working on now but, there is no indication of Omicron in Ghana. So all those messages flying around, it's not true, there is no case in Ghana," Dr Kuma Aboagye said.

He added the measures of preventing omicron remains safe; adding that GHS has put in place the needed measures to ensure the virus is controlled when discovered.

He also advised Ghanaians to follow the safety protocols which include wearing of masks, vaccination and social distancing.

"The preventive measures remain the same, we have not had any evidence that it would pass through a different part than what we know now and so all the mechanisms that are in place continue to work and we will also continue our surveillance and once we discover, we will look at that," Graphic.com.gh quoted.

Meanwhile, a former Member of Parliament in Botswana, Alfred Rabashemi Madigele has alleged that the first cases of the new COVID-19 variant the southern African country recorded last week 'was detected in 4 diplomats of Ghanaian origin.'

Madigele made the claim in a November 28 Facebook post protesting the fact that Botswana and South Africa were among the first countries - along with others in the southern Africa region - to be slapped with flight bans by the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States over the new variant.

His post stressed that the two countries had rather served the world well by detecting and raising alarm relative to the Omicron variant of the virus known as SARS-CoV-2 variant: B.1.1.529.

What WHO said about the new COVID-19 variant

The Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) is an independent group of experts that periodically monitors and evaluates the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and assesses if specific mutations and combinations of mutations alter the behaviour of the virus. The TAG-VE was convened on 26 November 2021 to assess the SARS-CoV-2 variant: B.1.1.529.

The B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on 24 November 2021. The epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant.

In recent weeks, infections have increased steeply, coinciding with the detection of B.1.1.529 variant. The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on 9 November 2021.

This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs.

The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. Current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant.

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