The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has announced the detection of 34 cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the country.
In a tweet to announce the new cases, the NMIMR said the imported cases were detected in 120 samples collected between November 21 and 25.
“The Omicron variant was detected in 28% (34 out of 120) of returning traveler samples (collected from 21-25 November) sequenced. These are the first imported cases of the variant into Ghana, and we are closely monitoring its potential spread in the local population. We encourage the general public to continue adhering to the COVID-19 prevention protocols,” the NMIMR stated in a tweet.
The update from the NMIMR came hours after the Ghana Health Service disclosed the country’s first cases of the new variant.
The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, revealed that the virus was detected in persons traveling from Nigeria and South Africa into the country.
Meanwhile, Immunologist at the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) at the University of Ghana, Dr. Yaw Bediako has urged the government to stiffen surveillance at the country’s airports to prevent the spread of the new virus.
According to him, Ghana’s decision to insist that PCR tests are done for every traveler is in the right direction.
“I think that it is the best we can do, red-listing, you can never completely stop the virus and you have to balance a lot of factors when you are thinking of what measures to take. I think doing anything more than what we are currently doing would be counterproductive and would not necessarily provide any further production,” he insisted.