The Government is stepping up the implementation of the protocols at the various entry points, especially the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), in the wake of the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant.
The latest COVID-19 variant identified in South Africa has been given the Greek name ‘Omicron’, and labeled as a variant of concern by United Nation health agency experts due to its large number of mutations and possible faster rate of infection.
There are even claims that the variant emanated from Botswana but it was South African scientist that first discovered it and in less than a week, some European countries have started discriminating against Africa by banning travels from at least five southern African countries.
The COVID-19 pandemic started from Wuhan, China and spread across the world but these Europeans and their American counterparts could not confront China but are now targeting Africa which has been swift in letting the world know what is happening.
As part of the measures to contain any eventualities, the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) are intensifying their vigilance through the continuous implementation of the protocols on international travel as currently exists and ensure strict enforcement of the protocols at the KIA and all entry points as part of its COVID-19 plans to approach the festive season.
Director General of the GHS, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said at a press briefing organised by the Ministry of Information yesterday that there is an increased surveillance and monitoring of new strains and persons returning from countries of concern.
He said the GHS will in the coming weeks ramp-up its vaccination exercise that has so far seen some 1.4 million Ghanaians inoculated from the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said with increasing availability of vaccines and reasonable number of vaccines in the pipeline, the GHS would scale up its vaccination exercise in line with government’s broader plan of vaccinating 20 million Ghanaians.
“We are declaring December as the month of vaccination. We have the exercise in two sections. There are proposed groups that will be covered under the mandate and the various venues where the vaccination will be carried out. We are looking at the three arms of government, all health workers, all security personnel will be covered, all staff and students in secondary and tertiary schools should be vaccinated, all government workers and commercial drivers together with their mates,” he said.
He bemoaned the low pace at which Ghanaians patronise the vaccination exercise, explaining that it informs why his outfit is introducing a vaccine mandate, an enhanced vaccination programme applicable from January 2022 to increase the number of people who turn up at vaccination centres to be vaccinated.
The GHS boss reiterated the need for Ghanaians to comply strictly with the COVID-19 protocols as we approach the festive seasons. He said there is the need for strict compliance among the citizenry to avoid a further spike in coronavirus cases.