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General News of Friday, 29 May 2020


Coronavirus: Premature to ease restrictions - Segbefia

Alexander Segbefia Alexander Segbefia

Former Health Minister, Alexander Segbefia has expressed worry over plans by the government to ease some COVID-19 restrictions to alleviate the economic hardships.

Mr Segbefia's worry follows President Nana Akufo-Addo's statement that his government is in consultations with stakeholders to ease restrictions.

According to Mr Segbefia, although the country's COVID-19 death toll is low, it should not encourage President Akufo-Addo to ease the restrictions because such decision cannot curtail the spread of the virus.

" The main question is, is it yet time for a lockdown to be lifted? some of us are of the view that it is still a bit premature and we should watch it a little bit because nobody knows much about the virus, the facts that are clear about the illness is that, sometimes it appears it's going away and it comes back strong so the reoccurrence rate is pretty hard and even countries started before us still have high levels of COVID-19, so let's not be complacent because we are fortunate at this moment. Nobody knows but maybe through God's grace our death rate is not high and our recovery rate seems to be quite quick…so I do not believe that the data we have is sufficient to be making certain decisions, if you make those decisions without getting full data from mass testing process then you could be in difficulties tomorrow," said Mr Segbefia to Journalists after he led a delegation from the office of Former President, John Dramani Mahama to donate some protective equipment to the Health Directorate of South Tongu and Ketu South Municipalities in the Volta region on Thursday 28 May 2020, as part of the National Democratic Congress COVID-19 Technical Team's efforts to combat the pandemic.

Mr Segbefia added that the COVID-19 data is not satisfactory because of the government's failure to undertake a mass testing exercise to identify the exact figures.

"We cannot totally rely on our figures, why do I say that? Because we are not doing mass testing, if you are doing mass testing, that is each and everybody, you will get a better idea of how infected we are. At the moment, you can see there is a drop even in contact tracing and there's also a drop in the numbers so, therefore, any drop in numbers can be attributed to that not necessarily the fact that people are not getting the infection" he said.

The former Minister emphasised by saying the NDC's COVID-19 Technical Team is not politically affiliated but an independent board to support the government's efforts to overcome the pandemic.