New variants of COVID-19 have been recorded in the country, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has revealed.
According to the President, in his 22nd COVID-19 address to the nation, the variants were recorded among passengers who tested positive after arriving at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra on their international travels.
“Recent genomic sequencing undertaken by our scientists have established that some arriving passengers tested positive for the new variants of COVID-19,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo, however, disclosed that the affected passengers had been isolated and added that “Furthermore, work is ongoing to determine the presence and extent of spread of the new variants in the general population.”
Multiple COVID-19 Variants
Although it is not clear which of the variants of COVID-19 have been recorded, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has identified multiple COVID-19 variants since September 2020 in other parts of the world.
In the United Kingdom (UK), the CDC said a new variant called B.1.1.7 had emerged with an unusually large number of mutations.
The variant, it said, spreads more easily and quickly than other variants. But, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or increased risk of death.
The B.1.1.7 variant has since been detected in numerous countries around the world, including the United States and Canada.
The CDC again found another variant called 1.351 in South Africa which is independent of the variant detected in the UK.
The variant, originally detected in early October, 2020, shares some mutations with the variant detected in the UK.
Again, a variant called P.1 has emerged in Brazil, according to the CDC. This variant contains a set of additional mutations that may affect its ability to be recognised by antibodies.
The number of active COVID-19 cases according to the President stands at 1,924.
He also indicated that treatment centres are currently filled with COVID-19 patients, with the country recording 200 new cases daily.
The number of severe cases is currently 120, with those severely ill being youthful persons without underlying health issues.
Deaths from the infection have risen to 352 from the previous 338.
So far 13 out of 16 regions have recorded active cases of COVID-19.
As a means of managing the situation, President Akufo-Addo said the health authority is intensifying its strategy of enhanced tracing, testing and treating, to identify infected persons in the population for isolation and treatment.
He said some contact tracers are also being mobilised to follow up on contacts of all who test positive for the infection.
“Both public and private laboratories are to supply, in real-time, data on all persons tested on the common platform established by the Ghana Health Service.
“There will be sanctions against laboratories that fail to comply,” he said.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri