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Political rallies not cause of rising COVID-19 cases — Dr Kuma-Aboagye

BY: Gifty Owusu-Amoah
Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service
Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service

The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, has dispelled the notion that political rallies are the reason for the rise in the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country.

He said even though majority of party supporters at political rallies did not adhere to COVID-19 preventive protocols, such as the wearing of face masks, the risk of infection was low because those events were held outdoors.

“The political rallies happen in the open air where there is proper ventilation, and in such situations the risk of infection is low, compared with enclosed places. The virus does not do well in open spaces.

“The infection is high in the Greater Accra, Ashanti, Bono and Central regions. Places where the rallies are being held do not have recorded positive cases and so we cannot conclude that political rallies are causative agents of high COVID-19 cases,” he added.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye, who was briefing the press in Accra yesterday, said recorded cases of COVID-19 in the country were backed by data and science, and that evidence did not show political rallies increased infection rates.

He, however, cautioned the public against indoor activities because their risk of infection was high due to poor ventilation.

“The risk of infection is high in enclosed places, and that is the more reason people need to be cautious when patronising places such as bars, food joints and clubs,” he said.

Situation

The GHS Director-General said positive cases of COVID-19 declined this month from 1,139 to 775, with the Greater Accra Region leading in the positive cases.

He also said the COVID-19 testing regime at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) that was introduced by the government in September this year had contributed to the reduction in the infection rate.

So far, 69,311 passengers had been tested, out of which 264 cases were positive, with 187 of them being discharged from the treatment facility, he said.

According to Dr Kuma-Aboagye, passengers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recorded the highest number of infected cases, adding: “The testing was very important, since the recorded cases could have increased community spread.”

He further observed that the wearing of face masks correctly dropped from 44 per cent to seven per cent between August and November 2020, while the proportion of people not wearing the masks correctly had also declined from 38 to 11 per cent.

The proportion of people not wearing face masks at all also increased from 18 per cent to 82 per cent within the same period, he stressed.

The director-general, therefore, advised people to cultivate the habit of wearing face masks, since they were significant in curbing the spread of the virus.

Vaccine

On November 18, 2020, the World Health Organisation announced a major breakthrough in COVID-19 cure with the production of vaccines by Pfizer and Biontech, both foreign companies, which are in the concluding phase of testing.

Dr Kuma-Aboagye said the government was monitoring the development and would start administering the vaccines from early next year after their certification.