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The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has said it has not officially presented a viewpoint to the government of Ghana on a lockdown and mass testing of the public as part of measures to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ghana.
Rather, it said NMIMR and other members of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences have actually presented a position paper to the government with some recommendations for consideration.
The Daily Graphic newspaper in its Tuesday, March 24, 2020 edition published that NMIMR had recommended mass testing of people for the Coronavirus disease as the surest way to pick out possible cases early.
The publication followed an exclusive interview with the Director of the NMIMR, Professor Abraham Annan whose institution is at the forefront of testing for COVID-19.
Professor Annan had told the Daily Graphic that a lockdown on human movement was a proactive solution to the escalation of the community spread of the COVID-19 and consequently called for a total shutdown of the biggest public bus system in the country, “trotro,” as a critical measure because that system was a major conduit for accelerating the community spread, as it was difficult to even reduce numbers on board the buses for social (physical) distancing.
Related article: Halting COVID-19 spread: Noguchi urges lockdown, mass testing
However, at a press briefing organised by the Ministry of Information for an update on the disease in Accra Tuesday [March 24, 2020] and in a reaction to the Daily Graphic’s publication, Professor William Kwabena Ampofo, speaking for Noguchi said: “the headline – Halting COVID-19 spread: Noguchi urges lockdown, mass testing – is totally misleading.”
Prof Ampofo said that Professor Annan was not speaking on the position of the institute but it was comments he made “which was misquoted” and “taken out of text.”
“The institute, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research has not officially presented a viewpoint to the government of Ghana. Actually, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and other members of the Ghana Arts, and Academy for Sciences have presented a position paper to government with some recommendations for consideration.”
“So the headline is totally misleading, it was comments with the news reporter which has been taken out of text,” Prof Ampofo said.
With regards to testing, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR) are using a molecular method for the detection of SARS-COV-2 and “we will continue to use this method to test respiratory samples to determine current infections with the virus,” he added.
“Let me make this clear, we are using a molecular method for the direct testing of the virus in respiratory samples to be able to determine that people are infected with the virus. The position of government at this moment is not to use a rapid test, which only shows that you have been exposed to the anti-body, and does not present a tentative indication of being infected. I hope that makes it clear. Thank you,“ Prof Ampofo stressed.
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Source: Ghana News