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General News of Wednesday, 4 March 2020


Coronavirus: GIS joins forces with Port Health, Customs at borders to ensure safety of Ghanaians - Amoako-Atta

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Ghana remains steadfast in the attempt to keep the most rapidly spreading viral disease across the globe, COVID-19, known popularly as coronavirus at bay.

The country’s neighbours, Nigeria, have recorded their first confirmed case, bringing the total number of coronavirus infections to 12. Other countries infected on the continent are Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia.

But Head of Public Relations at the Ghana Immigration Service, Michael Amoako-Atta is confident the country has what it takes to prevent the spread of the outbreak from its neighbours.

“…we’ve heightened surveillance especially at the unapproved routes/points where normally we wouldn’t have officers stationed.

“This is a health issue that normally you would find port health playing the lead role. But now Customs, Plant Quarantine, Immigration, all of us..., we’ve come together with Port Health leading us, educating us, then we support them.

“Now most of the patrols, you find Custom officers also assisting GIS to perform that, so now we have more numbers,” he told GhanaWeb in an interview.

Since the report of a confirmed case of coronavirus in Nigeria, several concerns have been raised by Ghanaians, Nigerian nationals living in Ghana and others on the propensity of people coming into the country using illegal means since it is regular destination of citizens of both countries.

Many people have also described the country’s borders as porous, a situation Mr Amoako-Atta says has resulted in the increase of personnel patrolling the illicit routes.

“…That is one effective way of ensuring that the unapproved routes that is primarily a GIS function but being supported by Customs, so that we can spread or stretch along all the unapproved routes,” he added.

He established that the same measures put in place at the Kotoka International Airport i.e. installed thermal scanners were being operationalized at the border points.

Mandatory ‘Health Declaration Forms’ recommended by the World Health Organisation are filled by travellers upon entry to aid personnel from the Ministry of Health locate any persons who start to manifest symptoms of the novel coronavirus after the incubation period.

According to Director of Public Health at Ghana Health Service, Dr Badu Sarkodie, there have been about thirty-eight suspected cases but they have all tested negative. He stressed that the country has not recorded any confirmed cases of the disease.

Reports were rife a few days ago that a man from Germany reported of a condition that showed signs of the coronavirus. Emergency tests conducted on him proved that he was free of the virus but he died later at the hospital.

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