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12 Mar 2020 | 11:32 PM UTC

Ghana: Ministry of Health confirms first case of COVID-19 March 13

Ghana confirms first two cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 13; further spread of the virus expected

health
GHA

Event

Ghana's Ministry of Health confirmed the first two cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Thursday, March 13. According to authorities, the indivudals had returned to Ghana from Norway and Turkey. They are currently in isolation and contact tracing is underway.

To prevent further spread of the virus, the Ministry of Health has advised people to observe good personal hygiene, avoid shaking hands, and practice social distancing. Individuals who feel unwell with symptoms such as fever, cough, and breathing difficulties are advised to stay at home and call 0509497700 or 0558439868 immediately.

Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.  
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.