The presidential advisor on health, Anthony Nsiah Asare, is cautioning Ghanaians to avoid needless travel to China, particularly as COVID-19 cases in the Far Eastern country soar.
Speaking to Asaase News, Dr Asare said Ghana is likely to place restrictions on people travelling from China, starting from midnight on 3 January 2023.
“We are aware that there is an increase in cases in China, so we are putting measures in place,” the former boss of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) said.
Nsiah Asare said the new measures will help to deal with the COVID-19 problem, as other countries are also reporting a rise in cases.
“If it is the same omicron that is circulating in China, then we will not be in any danger. I’m sure from midnight of 3 January there will be extra restrictions, particularly for people coming from China – not just Chinese people, but anybody who originated from China – into the country.
“We are going to make sure that we don’t import any unnecessary viruses into [Ghana]. My advice is that although China is opening up for people to visit, if you don’t have anything essential thing to do in China, I will plead that you don’t go now,” he said.
Touching on why Ghana still has so few active cases, even after the festive season, he said: “It’s … unexpected because, if you remember, normally we have a lot of cases in late December and early January to February. But, by the grace of God, due to the measures we have put in place, we haven’t seen that, and I hope we don’t see it.”
Reviewing COVID protocols
Meanwhile, the GHS has served notice that it will review the existing COVID-19 measures as cases increase in other parts of the world, especially China.
In a statement issued on Sunday (1 January 2023) the GHS said it has become imperative to tighten health measures to avert further outbreaks in the West African country.
“There has been a decline and sustained low levels of COVID-19 cases in Ghana over the past three months,” the GHS statement said. “However, the change in the global situation, particularly with a reported increase in new cases in China and other countries, as well as Ghana’s relatively low vaccine coverage, poses a major threat of importation and a new wave of COVID-19 infection in the country.
“This situation calls for tightening and reviewing of existing measures to avert further outbreaks. Ghana Health Service and the Ministry of Health are critically monitoring the situation in consultation with key stakeholders,” the statement said.
“We will shortly come out with our country-specific measures to address the current threat of COVID-19, especially with respect to importation.”
The Health Service has since called on Ghanaians to get vaccinated to protect themselves.
“We want to use this opportunity to encourage all Ghanaians who have not availed themselves for the COVID-19 vaccination to do so,” the statement said. “Those who have taken their first dose are to go for the second dose and those who have taken their second dose are also entreated to go for the booster.”
It added: “Vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19 infection.”