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General News of Saturday, 30 May 2020


Don’t ease restrictions now – Segbefia to Akufo-Addo

Former Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia Former Minister of Health, Alex Segbefia

A former Minister of Health and a member of the NDC Covid-19 Technical Response Team, Alex Segbefia has expressed worry over the imminent plans by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to ease the restrictions put in place by the government to limit the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Mr Segbefia, though the country has recorded a relatively low death toll and significant recoveries in recent times, these should not encourage the President to ease the restrictions since that could spark a further increase in the spread of the virus.

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

He said, “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.”

He added that “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 the mass testing process, then you could be in difficulties tomorrow,” he emphasised.

The Former Health Minister further stated that the data available on the Covid-19 pandemic can be misleading unless the government undertakes a mass-testing exercise to ascertain the true figure of infections.

“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, any drop in numbers can be attributed to that but not necessarily the fact that people are not getting the infection”, he said

Mr Segbefia made the statements while addressing journalists in Aflao on Thursday, 28 May, after leading a delegation on behalf of the party’s flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama and the NDC Covid-19 Technical Response Team to donate some Personal Protective Equipment to the Ketu South Municipal hospital and the South Tongu district hospital in Sogakope.