“I took enormous precautions in my daily activities, but, unfortunately, I contracted COVID-19. ” These were the words of the Minister of Regional Reorganisation and Development, Mr Dan Botwe, who had just been discharged from the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC), where he was admitted for treatment after contracting the virus.
According to him, he was shocked when he was told a test conducted on him had returned positive for the virus because he took great interest in observing the preventive protocols at home, the workplace and every other place that he was.
“So yes, testing positive for the coronavirus was a surprise to me, “ he told the Daily Graphic on phone yesterday.
He is currently taking some time off to rest at home after spending three weeks at the UGMC where latest tests on him for the virus returned negative.
Mr Botwe said what he experienced within the period had strengthened his conviction that COVID-19 was a disease nobody should joke with.
“All of us must be careful and do the best we can to keep the virus at bay,” he counselled.
Explaining the precautions he took and yet tested positive for the disease, Mr Botwe said in his house, office, and even in his car, he took enormous precautions, including spraying files and papers, applying alcohol-based sanitisers to even his door handles, and ensured social distancing at all times “yet I was infected.”
“This tells you how dangerous and indeed ubiquitous this virus is; it’s something we should not joke with, and I’m a living testimony to everything,” he said.
Mr Botwe, who is also the Member of Parliament for Okere in the Eastern Region, is one of the key government officials to be infected by COVID-19.
On June 24, this year, Mr Botwe issued a press statement announcing that he had been admitted to the UGMC after feeling unwell earlier that week.
"I have undertaken several tests including tests for COVID-19 and await results", the statement said and added that he promised to relay the test results to the public when they were released.
How it started
Taking the Daily Graphic through how it all started, the minister said he felt unwell sometime in June, this year, but did not know he had been infected with the coronavirus.
He said the symptoms he experienced looked like pneumonia so he reported to his doctor who after preliminary examination advised that he followed up with further examination at the UGMC.
When he left for the UGMC, he never thought he was carrying the virus. “The fact is, I never suspected I was carrying COVID-19.”
But when the sample was taken for test, it returned positive.
It took four days for the test results to come out and all this while, he was kept in isolation.
After testing positive, the minister said, he spent 13 days receiving treatment at the UGMC.
Clearly, it was a traumatic experience for the experienced politician, who was recently re-elected unopposed in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) primary in Okere to contest the December 7, 2020, parliamentary election.
Nevertheless, he was not found in the mire of the coronavirus.
“I was not on ventilators, “ he said
COVID-19 threatens all
Mr Botwe advised Ghanaians to desist from focusing too much attention on government officials who got infected with the virus.
To him, it appeared some people were just out to make capital out of government officials contracting the COVID-19.
“This must stop. It is too risky to do that since it will shift attention from the ubiquitous nature of the virus and the danger it brings to all the people in the country.”
“This virus is not ministers’ virus, it threatens everybody and we must, therefore, fight it together,” he said.
As a result of the incredible work ethic displayed by the health workers at the UGMC towards the fight against the COVID-19, Mr Botwe said he would always show appreciation to them.
The nurses, doctors and other frontline workers were all serious with their work and I really felt it there. “I am grateful to them,” he said.