NDC rubbishes WHO directives on Covid-19
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has said the new discharge and recovery policy on the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is very dangerous.
The party’s fears lie in the no confirmatory negative tests to be firmly sure a patient had recovered from the virus. In May this year, the WHO recommended that symptomatic patients could be discharged from isolation 10 days after symptoms onset, plus three additional days without symptoms, including without fever and respiratory symptoms. Also, for asymptomatic cases, patients could be discharged 10 days after a positive test for SARS-CoV-2.
Health experts say asymptomatic cases may not spread the virus after 10 days of symptoms onset. According to WHO, in consultation with global expert networks and member states, it had received feedback that applying the initial recommendation of two negative RT-PCR tests at least 24 hours apart, in the light of limited laboratory supplies, equipment, and personnel in areas with intense transmission, it has been extremely difficult, especially outside hospital settings.
It added challenges of the initial criteria for SAR-CoV-2, considering the widespread community transmission.
The setbacks included insufficient testing capacity and long periods of isolation for individuals with prolonged viral RNA detection after resolution of symptoms affecting individual well-being, society and access to health.
However, the NDC, at a press conference in Accra yesterday, expressed a contrary view to the new discovery and recovery policy from the same WHO.
The NDC blamed the review of the recovery and discharge policy in Ghana from two mandatory tests to zero on what it said was the lack of test kits, and isolation facilities among others.
Addressed by its National Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi, the NDC said regardless of the stance of WHO, asymptomatic patients may still spread the deadly virus, the reason the NDC is worried the government has abandoned the two confirmatory negative tests.
“We, in the NDC, hold the view that the new recovery and discharge policy, under which persons who have tested positive for the virus are declared recovered and discharged when they become asymptomatic, without any confirmatory test, is very dangerous and has the potential to further jeopardise our already failing Covid-19 fight.
“It must be noted that although the risk or degree of the spread of the virus by asymptomatic patients is relatively lower as compared to persons showing symptoms, it cannot be said that there is absolutely no risk or possibility that asymptomatic patients can spread the virus,” the NDC claimed.
Sammy Gyamfi explained: “In other words, the fact that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that asymptomatic cases are less likely to pass the virus on than symptomatic cases does not mean asymptomatic individuals cannot spread the virus as has been suggested in Ghana.” The party wants the government to go back to the initial policy.
The party cited the case of the Former Deputy Trade and Industry Minister, Carlos Ahenkorah, who the Ghana Health Service, over the weekend issued a statement to announce that the Tema West Legislator had tested negative on two occasions.
The NDC could not understand why the MP was tested twice for negatives, at a time the government had announced it had abandoned the initial policy, and was not testing for negatives again.
Upon that, the NDC queried if the lives of government officials were more precious than the ordinary citizens, who are now discharged with no confirmatory negative tests.
In one of its public updates on the management of the Coronavirus, the WHO’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned against the politicisation of the pandemic.
He said: “The greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself, it’s the lack of global solidarity and global leadership. We cannot defeat this pandemic with a divided world.”