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135 COVID-19 affected Achimota students discharged

BY: Emmanuel Bonney & Doreen Andoh

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has so far tested 1,118 samples as part of measures to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 in Achimota School.

It said out of the number, 183 were positive, but only 48 were currently active because 135 had been discharged based on the national 14-day discharge policy.

Providing an update on the situation in Achimota School, the Director of Public Health at the GHS, Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, said all the 48 cases were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.

“The situation in the school and in the community is currently under control. Stakeholders must remain calm and continue to adhere to the safety protocols, whether or not they have been vaccinated,” he said.

He said the Achimota School situation had been an eye opener on the Delta variant, providing enough evidence of it being in the community.

He, therefore, reiterated his call for the public to adhere strictly to the safety protocols in their individual interest and in the collective interest of all.

He also reminded the public to bear in mind that “no one is safe until everybody is safe, meaning that we all have to wear the face mask, adhere to social distancing and the other preventive safety protocol”.

School calm under partial lockdown

Dr Asiedu Bekoe said as part of the measures to sustain the gains made in containing the spread in Achimota School, all day students were supposed to stay at home for the next two weeks.

He explained that the authorities were restricting movement to and from the school to help prevent a spread to the community.

Visits to the school since the news broke out presented a calm atmosphere, with students going about their usual activities.

Indeed, security at the school has been scaled up, with the men at the entry points subjecting visitors to a barrage of questions to determine where they were going to.

On both campuses (West side and the main campus), students, administrative staff and teachers, all in their face masks, were seen moving about freely in various directions to carry out one task or another.

Perhaps cautioned not to talk to the media, both students and teachers with whom the Graphic team tried to talk declined.

Also, efforts to get some comments from the headmistress were not successful, as her secretary said she had gone out for a meeting.

Parents

Meanwhile, there is uneasy calm among parents of students of the school who are eager to see their children but are unable to do so due to the partial lockdown currently in place at the school.

When the news broke, that weekend was visiting for Form Three students. But it was put off, but that did not deter some parents from showing up in a bid to see their children.

They were, however, turned away, a situation that caused some anxiety.

However, the Chairman of the Parent/Teacher Association (PTA) of the school, Dr Andre Kwasi-Kumah, said having gone to the school to assess the situation on the ground, the association was satisfied with the plans put in place to deal with the issue.

“The GHS and the Ghana Education Service (GES) have taken over and we are satisfied with the interventions put in place to control, curb and possibly help restore normalcy to the school.

“We know parents are anxious, but we will urge them to remain calm, as things are under control,” Dr Kwasi-Kumah said.

Background

Last Sunday, the GHS announced that it was strategically testing all day students of Achimota School for COVID-19 to help identify and contain further community spread of the virus, following an outbreak in the school.

It said although not all cases of the outbreak at the school were caused by the Delta variant of COVID-19, a significant number were, and, therefore, testing all “at-risk population”, such as day students, would help contain any further community spread of the virus in the school.

Presenting an update on the COVID-19 situation, the Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kumah-Aboagye, said disinfection and the strict enforcement of infection prevention and control protocols, commonly known as safety protocols, were part of interventions being carried out to contain the outbreak in the school.

He said the GHS would review all cases in the school on a daily basis and continue aggressive health education for the students and other target groups in the school and surrounding communities.

The Delta strain of COVID-19 was first detected locally among international arrivals in April this year.

Dr Kumah-Aboagye expressed worry over the gradual increase in active cases over the past three weeks.

He said the daily average had risen from below 50 about two months ago to 80.

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