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Business News of Thursday, 23 July 2020


Govt spends US$35m on testing for COVID-19

Deputy Health Minister, Dr Okoe-Boye Deputy Health Minister, Dr Okoe-Boye

Government has so far spent US$35 million on testing 346,990 COVID-19 suspected cases. The amount is not part of the expenditure on the expansion of testing capacity.

Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Bernard Oko Boye, who represented the Minister of Health, made the revelation when he updated Parliament on Ghana’s COVID-19 situation in Accra yesterday.

He said the cost of one Polymerise Chain Reaction (PCR) test on average was $100 for a suspected case.

The PCR test is used to detect the genetic information of the virus and also gives an indication of the person who is infected with disease, Dr Boye added.
According to him, Ghana has done 346,990 tests, with a positivity rate of 7.9 percent.

He explained that the number of tests done per million of a country’s population gives an indication of the commitment of the country towards fighting the pandemic.

Simply put, the higher the test per million population, the more reliable the picture painted for that country.

Dr Boye said that Ghana’s total case count as at July 16, 2020 stood at 27,667, with 148 deaths, 23,249 recoveries and an active case count of 4,270.

He said Ghana’s mortality rate, deducing from the statistics, was 0.5 per cent, meaning for every 1,000 cases of COVID-19, Ghana could record five deaths.

However, Ghana’s COVID-19 death rate remains one of the lowest in the world, adding that the more efficient the management of COVID-19 in a country, the lower the mortality rate.

Making a contribution on the floor of parliament, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale Central, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, charged Ghanaians to interrogate government on its handling of the pandemic since the disease does not discriminate in terms of one’s party colour, affiliation or economic status.

“Ghanaians have a responsibility to interrogate what government is doing, because COVID-19 does not attack as a result of one’s party colour, affiliation and economic status,” he added.

He urged the citizens to hold government accountable in terms of monies approved by the legislature to help fight the disease.

Member of Parliament for Asokore, Dr Nana Ayew Afriyie lauded the government for the effective management of the coronavirus disease.

He said the country’s mortality rate, which was low, was not just by divine intervention, but as a result of good decisions, better protocols and the structures put in place by government.

Dr Afriyie praised the government for maximising the resources allocated to the pandemic efficiently. He, however, challenged sceptics of the performance of the government to rather applaud it for putting in place measures to contain the disease, with a mortality of 0.5 per cent.

Other countries have average mortality rates above one per cent, Dr Afriyie pointed out, and said that of Ghana was not just a divine intervention, but real decisions that had translated into that achievement.