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Ghana virus battle ‘modestly successful’ on testing progress

Lockdown extended by another week.
Street vendors wait to board buses in Accra, Ghana. Image: Nicholas Seun Adatsi/Bloomberg

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said the country is making progress to contain the spread of the coronavirus after an increase in testing showed limited contagion.

The number of confirmed cases reached 378 after the government tested 14 000 samples, Akufo-Addo said Thursday in an address on national television. Travellers and their contacts who entered the country after the implementation of border restrictions in March made out 79% of the cases, he said.

The West African nation had 141 confirmed results on March 28, out of about 2 500 screenings, before a mass roll-out of testing began. Authorities are expecting the outcome of a further 10 000 tests over the next week after taking a total of 37 405 samples, said Akufo-Addo.

A 14-day lockdown of Ghana’s biggest cities, including Accra, the capital, will be extended by another week until April 20, he said.

Difficulties

“It appears that our common efforts have been modestly successful in containing the virus and minimising the spread,” said Akufo-Addo. “It is important that we stay the course and bear with the difficulties.”

While Africa accounts for less than 1% of the global tally of almost 1.6 million confirmed virus cases, containment measures have wreaked havoc on the continent’s economies. After growing by 6% or more over the past three years, Ghana’s economic expansion may slow to 1.5%, the least since a contraction in 1983.

© 2020 Bloomberg

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