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COVID-19: "Remain in isolation" - GHS to AfCFTA Secretary General

BY: graphic.com.gh
Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Mr Wamkele Mene
Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Mr Wamkele Mene

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has "reminded" the Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Mr Wamkele Mene to remain in isolation after the Secretariat said his COVID-19 test was a false-positive.

It will be recalled that the AfCFTA in a statement issued on April 27, 2021, said Mene, will participate in upcoming events after independent PCR tests confirmed that he was issued with a false-positive COVID-19 test result at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

However, the GHS in a statement issued on April 29 and signed by its Director General, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said it does not recognize any COVID-19 test conducted after a positive test at the airport and not sanctioned by its case management team.

"...It is also note-worthy that any COVID-19 test conducted after the positive test at the airport, and not sanctioned by the case management team of the Ghana Health Service, is not recognized.  The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat is, thus, reminded that its Secretary-General is to remain in isolation until the completion of the statutory 7-day isolation period, and is discharged, as per the COVID-19 protocols issued by the President of the Republic," the statement said.

Response

The statement is in response to an earlier statement issued by the Secretariat of the AfCFTA which said after Mr Mene tested positive, he went into quarantine and undertook two independent tests, from two different private labs - both of which returned negative results.

The AfCFTA further disclosed that Mr Mene received the Johnson & Johnson (J & J) COVID-19 vaccine two weeks ago "which should provide him with an additional measure of protection".

It said the Secretary General will therefore participate in all the upcoming events, namely: (i) the Inaugural Meeting of the Dispute Settlement Body Committee (DSB) meeting taking place from Monday 26 April 2021 until Wednesday 28th April 2021; and (ii) the meeting of Senior Trade Officials from the 29th April to 1st May 2021 and the Council of Minister’s meeting on Monday the 3rd May 2021.

Read the GHS statement below;

The attention of the Ghana Health Service has been drawn to a statement issued by the Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), which has been reproduced in sections of the media, suggesting that a FALSE POSITIVE COVID-19 result was produced for the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA at the Kotoka International Airport.

This is not accurate.

It would be recalled that on Ft September 2020, the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, reopened the Kotoka International Airport, following its closure on 22′ March 2020. To reduce further importation of COVID-19 into the country, several measures were instituted at the airport. These included the presentation of a negative PCR test for COVID-19, which is not more than 72 hours old prior to departure to Ghana by all passengers, and a mandatory antigen test on arrival at the airport.

As at the 28th April, 2021, a total of 244,851 antigen tests have been conducted at the airport, yielding 1,639 COVID-19 positive cases. Out of these positive cases, Ghanaians account for 42%, whilst non-Ghanaians account for 58%.

However, since January 2021, as part of an enhanced protocol to avert further surges in cases and protect all persons living in Ghana, anybody who tests positive for COVID-19 at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) is mandatorily isolated for seven (7) days at Government designated facilities or a hotel. The person is tested again and clinically assessed by the Ghana Health Service before he or she is discharged.

These protocols apply to all persons, except for some situations as determined by the Ghana Health Service. It is also note-worthy that any COVID-19 test conducted after the positive test at the airport, and not sanctioned by the case management team of the Ghana Health Service, is not recognized. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat is, thus, reminded that its Secretary-General is to remain in isolation until the completion of the statutory 7-day isolation period, and is discharged, as per the COVID-19 protocols issued by the President of the Republic. The Ghana Health Service wishes to assure Ghanaians and everybody living in the country that we are committed to ensuring their safety, especially during this period when a third wave of the pandemic is wreaking havoc in other countries. As such, we expect everybody living in the country, or intending to stay in the country, to strictly adhere to all laid down COVID-19 protocols to prevent any surge in cases.