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General News of Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Source: pulse.com.gh

Coronavirus: Why Gov’t must supply free test kits to encourage mass and voluntary testing


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Ghana, like many other countries, is beginning to get overwhelmed by the number of Coronavirus cases recorded on a daily basis.

On March 12, 2020, the country recorded its first two cases, but the number has quickly skyrocketed to 68 (as of today, March 25).

While the government is doing its best to contain the situation, it has become increasingly important that mass testing is encouraged. For it is the best way to know and deal with the spread of the virus.

A case is the recent mandatory quarantining of some 1,030 persons who returned to Ghana from abroad.

So far, 185 of the quarantined persons have been tested, out of which it emerged that 25 of them tested positive for Coronavirus.

From the above, it is obvious that the more tests conducted, the easier it is to know the number of people who are unknowingly infected.

That’s why it’s high time the Ghana government supplies free test kits to encourage mass and voluntary testing.

Other countries have started it, and it is worth following suit. Even if the government cannot supply these test kits, it should at least license private companies to import them and sell to the public.


That way, the test kits would be easily accessible to the populace and mass testing would be encouraged.

In the US, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has licensed Aytu BioScience, Inc. to distribute over 100,000 COVID-19 test kits this week.

The case is no different in the UK, where government plans to purchase hundreds of thousands of antibody tests to detect if someone has already had coronavirus.

The Public Health England (PHE) believes the more people get tested, the easier it is to know their status and that could help minimize the spread.

UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, says daily testing will rise "from 5,000 a day, to 10,000 to 25,000 and then 250,000".

These measures increase the probability of detecting suspected cases of coronavirus and halting the spread at an early stage.

Luckily for Ghana, the medical supplies donated to Africa by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation to help fight the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) have arrived.

The COVID-19 test kits shipped to Ghana may not be enough, but the government can help itself by allowing private companies import these test kits, too.

Imagine a situation where you can just walk into any pharmacy shop or hospital to buy a COVID-19 test kit to test yourself?

That will definitely encourage mass and voluntary testing, as against the current situation, where one needs to show symptoms of the virus before he or she can be sent to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) for testing.

“When it comes to the unfolding situations, we may have to increase testing, so that we can understand the situation among the public to inform national decisions on who to quarantine and so forth,” Director of the NMIMR, Prof. Abraham Annan told the Daily Graphic earlier this week.

What mass or voluntary testing does is to help detect suspected cases of coronavirus before the victim even shows any symptoms. And such a move would definitely help curb the spread of the virus.

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