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Ghanaians advised to suspend trips to China, Coronavirus affected zones  

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Dr Badu Sarkodie, the Director of Public Health of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has advised Ghanaians and foreigners who wish to travel to China and the Novel Coronavirus affected areas to suspend their trips.

Even though, he said there was no suspected Coronavirus case in Ghana, it was important the public adhered to safety precautions as the disease continued to spread.

Dr Sarkodie gave the advice in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Monday on safety measures to be observed against catching the coronavirus that broke out in parts of China and spread to several countries including Cote d’Ivoire.

On December 31, 2019, WHO was alerted to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China, saying, “The virus did not match any other known virus. This raised concern because when a virus is new, we do not know how it affects people.”

One week later, on January 7, Chinese authorities confirmed that they had identified a new virus.

“The new virus is a coronavirus, which is a family of viruses that include the common cold, and viruses such as SARS and MERS. This new virus was temporarily named “2019-nCoV,” officials said.

Since then, Dr Sarkodie said, “WHO has been working with Chinese authorities and global experts from the day we were informed, to learn more about the virus, how it affects the people who are sick with it, how they can be treated, and what countries can do to respond.

“Both Ghanaians and Chinese who are resident in Ghana if you do not have any important mission to go back or travel to China, it will be wise to hold on to a time when the place would be declared safe.

“If you are a foreigner, it depends on your immigration status and whether your stay in the country has expired. In such cases you have to renew it at all cost, so then you have to do that with the necessary precautionary measures.”

Dr Sarkodie reiterated that, even though Ghana had not recorded any suspected case, measures have been put in place to protect the public against it.

He stated, “Surveillance at the various borders either by land, sea, and at the airports is to screen the temperature of every passenger entering the country.

“Those from the affected areas go beyond the screening for temperature, we also check them using a health declaration form.

“The health declaration form picks more detailed information with respect to where such people from the affected area have been for the past 14 days, whether they are having signs and symptoms, whether they have been in contact with people that are known to have the virus.

“In cases where they are in the country where they are lodging and take their contact details as to how they could be reached out to them in case of anything.

“We have been doing the temperature screening all this while to check for other disease but the introduction of the health declaration form was tailored specifically for the coronavirus.”

In a bid to strengthen the system and ensure Ghana was well positioned to prevent infection of the Coronavirus, Dr Sarkodie said a National Public Health Regulation meeting was held and a commission was formed.

The commission is expected to assess themselves on how to live up to the guidelines of the WHO and ensure that all were tailored to fit the country for the safety of all.

Ghana is working hard to prevent any introduction of the coronavirus into the country as officials say, “Measures have been put in place to pick it early, investigate and then take the necessary steps to deal with the situation.”

Nationals have been advised to adhere to the various preventive measures that have been mentioned such as regular washing of hands with soap and water, and hand rubbing with alcohol if available.

“This is the time we need to strengthen the hand washing practice not only for novel coronavirus but for other diseases prevention,” Dr Sarkodie said.

Meanwhile, China has said that it would suspend all tour groups and the sale of flight and hotel packages for its citizens headed overseas, starting on Monday.

Source: GNA

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