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Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana

Ernest Kenu
Joseph Frimpong
Kwadwo Koram


On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. The disease was christened COVID-19 and the pathogen (an RNA virus) identified as SARS-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2).1,2

The virus is primarily spread through contact with small droplets produced from coughing, sneezing, or talking by an infected person. While a substantial proportion of infected individuals may remain asymptomatic, the most common symptoms in clinical cases include, fever, cough, acute respiratory distress, fatigue, and failure to resolve over 3 to 5 days of antibiotic treatment. Complications may include pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome.3

Over five million confirmed cases of COVID-19 has been recorded globally with more than 300,000 deaths as at 25th May 2020. The United States of America has recorded the highest number of cases with more than 1.5 million and over 100,000 deaths.4

In Africa, more than 90,0000 cases have been reported with about 3,000 deaths. South Africa has recorded the highest number of cases with 23,615 cases and 481 deaths. Ghana confirmed its first cases of COVID-19 on 12th March 2020 and had as at 25 May 2020 recorded over 7,000 cases with 34 deaths.5