Ghana also records first cases of Omicron variant

Ghana has announced its first cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye announced today Wednesday December 1, 2021.

South Africa first identified the variant after tests, and some countries of the world including in Europe, Asia and Latin, have also announced the presence of the variant. So far, these are the countries that have reported the variant:

Australia: 7;
Austria: 1 case;
Belgium: 1 case;
Botswana: 19 cases;
Brazil: 2 cases;
Canada: 6 cases;
Czech Republic: 1 case;
Denmark: 4 cases;
France: 1 case (on Reunion Island);
Germany: 9 cases;
Hong Kong: 4 cases;
Israel: 4 cases;
Italy: 9 cases;
Japan: 2 cases;
Netherlands: 16 cases;
Nigeria: 3 cases;
Norway: 2 cases;
Portugal: 13 cases;
Saudi Arabia: 1 case;
South Africa: 77 cases;
Spain: 2 cases;
Sweden: 3 cases;
United Kingdom: 22 cases;
Ghana: 2 cases.

Other countries are expected to announce the variant as they discover it.

Nigeria apparently detected the variant in October, but announced it this week.

According to Dr. Kuma-Aboagye, first case was recorded on Sunday, November 21, in a Nigerian traveller through sequencing at the Kotoka International Airport, in Accra, while another case was documented in a traveller from Zimbabwe.

The country’s health authorities say Omicron has not yet been recorded in any Ghanaian community yet.

“The good thing is that among the community tests we’ve done so far, we haven’t seen any Omicron within the community of Ghana.

“The danger is if someone has Omicron and is incubating, it would not be found at the airport, so we still have to be extremely careful,” Kuma-Aboagye.

The Omicron variant

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on November 26, 2021, designated the variant B.1.1.529 a variant of concern, named Omicron, on the advice of its Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE).

According to the WHO, this decision was based on the evidence presented to the TAG-VE that Omicron has several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves, for example, on how easily it spreads or the severity of illness it causes.

Ghana recorded its first two COVID-19 infections on March 12, 2020. Available data shows that the country has so far recorded 130,920 confirmed cases with 1,209 deaths.

As at November 18, 2021, 3.5 million vaccine doses have been given in the country.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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