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Education Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh
Education Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh

Coronavirus: UGMC full, beds limited – Education Minister

The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh has said the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) is full, with a limited number of beds to accommodate the increasing number of COVID-19 cases being moved to the facility.

In view of this, he cautioned citizens against being “indifferent” about the virus, describing Ghana’s COVID-19 situation as one that has reached a “critical point.”

“We are at a critical point now. UGMC and Korle Bu are currently full. How many beds are available there? I never visited the ICU but others went to the ICU and never returned. We should, therefore, not be indifferent about the situation because it has not affected any of our relatives,” he told Kwami Sefa Kayi on Peace FM’s ‘Kokrooko’ on Thursday, 9 July 2020

The Minister, also known as NAPO, on 24 June 2020, reported to the facility upon feeling unwell and was taken in.

Narrating his experience with the coronavirus, he revealed that he tested positive while on admission at the facility where he self-isolated for two weeks.

“It was only God that helped me while I was on admission. I was on admission for about four days when the results came that I was positive. I was subsequently discharged after being on admission for almost two weeks,” he added.

The Minister indicated that all his relatives and employees were also tested for coronavirus.

Results from the tests carried out revealed that the majority of his employees had tested positive.

The Minister was discharged from UGMC with a “positive rapid antibody test” on Tuesday, July 8, 2020.

Meanwhile, Ghana has recorded 641 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total caseload to 23,463, the Ghana Health Service has announced.

The new infections were recorded in 52 districts across eight regions.

Also, the number of recoveries and discharges has jumped to 18,622.

There are currently 4,717 active cases.

All the confirmed cases were from 222,910 tests conducted.

So far, 9,403 were confirmed from routine surveillance with 14,060 from contact-tracing.

Also, COVID-19 infections in Africa today surpassed 500, 000, and there are concerns as a growing number of countries are experiencing a sharp rise in cases, the World Health Organization (WHO), has said.

It noted that, so far, in less than five months, the virus has claimed 11, 959 lives on the continent, overtaking the 11, 308 lives lost in the world’s worst Ebola outbreak in West Africa between 2014 and 2016.

Cases have more than doubled in 22 countries in the region over the past month.

Nearly two-thirds of countries are experiencing community transmission.

Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa account for about 71% of COVID-19 cases.

South Africa alone accounts for 43% of the continent’s total cases.

However, the accelerating growth trend is not uniform across the continent, with some countries recording a steady rise in cases, indicating a protracted pandemic.

Eritrea, The Gambia, Mali, Seychelles and Togo are witnessing long doubling times and low growth rates.

Seychelles had not experienced a case in nearly two months, but in the past week, had dozens of new imported cases, linked to crew members of an international fishing vessel.

There are also some signs of progress as 10 countries have experienced a downward trend over the past month.

Although Egypt accounts for 15 per cent of cumulative cases, it has seen a decline in the past week.

“With more than a third of countries in Africa doubling their cases over the past month, the threat of COVID-19 overwhelming fragile health systems on the continent is escalating,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Director for Africa.

“So far, the continent has avoided disaster and if countries continue to strengthen key public health measures such as testing, tracing contacts and isolating cases, we can slow down the spread of the virus to a manageable level.”

Eighty-eight per cent of COVID-19 infections are among people aged 60 and below, likely due to Africa’s relatively young population.

However, the likelihood of dying from COVID-19 rises with increasing age and the existence of co-morbidities, with the risk of death among patients aged 60 years and above being 10 times higher compared with those below 60.

“Communities across the continent have a crucial role to play in controlling the pandemic, especially as countries begin easing lockdowns and opening up their borders,” said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

“As governments continue to implement public health measures, individuals must remain as cautious and vigilant as ever to protect themselves, their families, and their communities. Hand washing, mask use, physical distancing and other preventative measures are key to controlling transmission, saving lives, and ensuring that already overwhelmed health systems are not stretched to breaking point.”

As COVID-19 continues to spread, thousands of health workers have also fallen ill.

Equipping and protecting health workers is one of the central pillars of the COVID-19 response.

WHO is working to support countries respond to COVID-19 by providing technical guidance, crucial medical equipment and has remotely trained more than 25 000 health workers. WHO has also organised more than 420 shipments of key equipment, including more than 3000 oxygen concentrators, 23 000 GeneXpert diagnostic testing machines and almost 4 million pieces of personal protective equipment for health care workers.

Source: Class FM

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