The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has cautioned the general public to desist from sharing social media messages on the novel Coronavirus, COVID 19 to cause fear and panic.
In a joint release with the Ministry of Health after the confirmation of the outbreak in Nigeria, the two institutions have advised the citizenry and media organizations to seek information on the outbreak from appropriate health authorities and not rely on false sources.
The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Abaoagye, Director of Public Health, Dr. Badu Sarkodie, Deputy Director, Disease Surveillance Dept., Dr. Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe and the Port Health Coordinator, Dr. Dennis Laryea have been named as designated experts to be contacted in case of doubt.
“All media enquiries should also be directed to the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service. Citizens are requested to avoid spreading messages on social media that have the potential to cause fear and panic. If the source is not authenticated by the Ministry of Health/Ghana Health Service, in order to streamline communications and to avoid creating fear and panic, we advise the media to speak to only designated experts”, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the authorities have reiterated their commitment to adopting measures to tackle the outbreak should there be a suspected or confirmed case in Ghana.
“We wish to take the opportunity to reassure Ghanaians that we will continue to intensify our preparedness activities and heighten surveillance at all points of entry to ensure that all citizens are safe and secure. We will continue to monitor the situation globally and update the general public accordingly.”
Ghana has made no moves to evacuate its nationals, especially students, from China, despite appeals.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, however, said the government will only evacuate Ghanaians students from China if the need arises.
The government has however supported students by disbursing US$500 each to them.
Risk of spread of Coronavirus now at global level
The impact and risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus is now at a global level, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom has said.
“The continued increase in the number of cases, and the number of affected countries over the last few days, are clearly of concern. Our epidemiologists have been monitoring these developments continuously, and we have now increased our assessment of the risk of spread and the risk of the impact of COVID19 to very high at a global level,” Mr. Adhanom said in his opening remarks at a media briefing on the coronavirus.
Mr. Adhanom was, however, quick to add that there is a “chance of containing this virus if robust action is taken to detect cases early, isolate and care for patients and trace contacts.”