Authorities in Bongo Refute COVID-19 Suspicions

The authorities of Bongo District Health Directorate in the Upper East Region, the District Assembly and the Medical Director of the district’s hospital have jointly refuted rumours and suspicions that, the district had recorded two COVID-19 cases.

Hon. Ayinbisa at the briefing
Hon. Ayinbisa (DCE Bongo) at the briefing

The rumours became rife over the past 24 hours [from morning of Wednesday March 25, 2020] after a young man [name withheld] from the Zorkor community had returned home from his sojourn to the United Kingdom, India and Dubai which are all among countries hit by the Coronavirus. The young man was in the company of his friend whom he had invited to travel home with him but.

But addressing the media in Bongo Thursday afternoon on the actual situation on the ground, District Chief Executive [DCE] for Bongo Hon. Peter Ayinbisa Ayamga, stated emphatically that the district had not recorded any COVID-19 case as the man in question and his friend, have not yet been medically certified as such. He revealed however that, the health authorities have since drawn blood samples from the two and sent same to the designated testing centres for the requisite investigations and next logical actions to be taken.

The DCE gave further details that, it was a tip-off that was given by members of the community that led to the prompt action which has since caused the gentlemen to be put into isolation under 24 hour police surveillance until such a time that the results come in from the laboratories. He added that the two were being fed three square meals a day and had also not shown any adverse vital signs since their confinement.

He appealed to the two young men and their families to bear with the authorities as the important precaution was to ensure that no one took chances with the deadly virus and that pretty soon, if all turns out well, the two would be out of the temporal quarantine and will have their normal lives back.

Hon. Ayinbisa said the district was on high alert for any infiltration of COVID -19 cases as his district shared borders with Burkina Faso while they continue to look out for citizens who might also be returning home from trips abroad as well as those coming in from Accra and Kumasi since these have become Ghana’s own local epicentres for the virus. He also entreated people in the communities to be vigilant and to report any strange arrivals to the health authorities and the district’s Coronavirus Rapid Response Team for urgent and immediate actions to be taken in order to impede any spread of the virus in the area.

He gave the assurance that the District Security Council [DISEC] in conjunction with sister security agencies will continue to patrol border lines of the district to ensure strict compliance with the President’s directives on closed borders which is meant to stop imported cases. He disclosed for instance that this morning, he joined an inspection team to the Namoo Immigration border post and learnt of an unapproved station that was engaged in passenger swaps between Ghana and Burkina Faso as vehicles were not permitted to cross. He said he immediately caused the closure of that station and directed that security personnel be detailed there to ensure it did not spring back.

Hon. Ayinbisa used the occasion to appeal for additional support from philanthropists, organisations and corporate bodies both in cash and in kind for the procurement of Personal Protection Equipment [PPEs] for frontline health workers in the district and other medical supplies to aid the fight against the coronavirus. He also urged the media not to report false-hints from rumour mongers but rather always endeavour to cross check with the appropriate authorities before going to press.

Bongo District Health Director Mr. Stephen Bordotsiah for his part disclosed that, he had detailed some nurses that are monitoring the immediate family of the young man in question as all members of the family were also advised to do self-isolation. The same team is also giving the family counselling and psychological coaching so as to be able to cope with the situation. Meanwhile, the immediate community close to the family’s house is also being sensitised not to stigmatise the family.

Mr. Bordotaiah, Bongo DDHS
Mr. Bordotsiah, Bongo DDHS

According to Mr. Bordotsiah, the young man in question landed in Ghana last Saturday 21st March, 2020 before the airport lockdown took effect and so only the basic temperature and other routine checks were done on him before he was let out. He added that a “Can Doo” rider who brought in the two young men into Bongo from Bolgatanga and another passenger on board had also been traced and that they were fine. However a third passenger, a woman from neighbouring Burkina Faso had long crossed into her native land and unable to be traced.

Also, authorities of an O.A bus that they travelled in from Accra to Bolgatanga, had also been contacted for further information.
Medical Director in charge of the Bongo District Hospital Dr. William Gudu in his remarks, said his staff attending to the two quarantined men were always dressed according to the laid down protocols in order to avoid any infections. Meanwhile, the remains of the left-over of their feeding and other waste generated, were carefully collected and incinerated. He said unlike before the COVID-19 upsurge, the hospital has erected a tent at its entrance and positioned nurses there to take temperature and monitor other vitals before persons are allowed into the premises.

Source: Peter Atogewe Wedam (ISD-Bongo)

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