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Mass testing not feasible, adhering to preventive etiquette more efficient – Oppong Nkrumah

The Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has explained that the government has not made an attempt at mass testing in a bid to tackle the novel coronavirus more efficiently as it begins easing restrictions on gatherings.

Though the government has not given up on the option of mass testing, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said mass testing would not be an absolute solution to the spread of the virus.

“Testing is not a panacea. What we have therefore sought to do is to test at-risk populations because there is a clear mapping of where the virus is, the persons who at risk and therefore you are able to concentrate your resources,” the Minister explained on Citi TV‘s The Point of View.

“It may not be prudent to test 9.4 million kids that are going to school once. If you are going to test them, maybe you should test everybody every morning. Can you feasibly do that? You can’t do that.”

Among others, former President John Dramani Mahama had called on the government to conduct mass testing for the virus before easing restrictions.

“In the face of the imminent easing of restrictions, let me repeat the call on the government to consider conducting mass testing, at least, at the point of need,” Mr. Mahama noted.

The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) also proposed mass coronavirus testing of students, teaching and non-teaching staff of Senior High Schools (SHSs) before they are reopened.

These calls notwithstanding, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah indicated that the government was going to continue focusing on preventive measures and targeted testing.

“It is the kind of social distances, the kind of preventive etiquette generally that you do in addition to the testing of at-risk populations that gives you a combined effect that amounts to some layer of protection.”

Right now, he said one of the government’s concerns was “the gap of that full level of compliance we desire.”

Though the President has eased public gathering restrictions, the wearing of face masks remains mandatory.

Social distancing is also to be observed in public transport, markets, banks etc.

Ghana has currently confirmed 8,070 cases of the virus.

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