Ghana has identified seven more cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, according to a top health official bringing the total number of recorded cases of the new variant to 41.
Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye who disclosed this development said the new cases were detected during community testing after the first 34 cases were recorded at the Kotoka International Airport.
“We saw the first of about 34 cases that were recorded at the airport. At the time, we had sequenced about 66 community samples and they were all negative” but after the second batch of about 44 tests was conducted, seven more cases were detected,” Dr. Kuma-Aboagye was quoted by JoyNews as saying.
He was quick to add that the Delta variant remains dominant in the country.
On December 2, 2021, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) announced the detection of 34 cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the country.
In a tweet to announce the new cases, the NMIMR said the imported cases were detected in 120 samples collected between November 21 and 25.
“The Omicron variant was detected in 28% (34 out of 120) of returning traveler samples (collected from 21-25 November) sequenced.
“These are the first imported cases of the variant into Ghana, and we are closely monitoring its potential spread in the local population. We encourage the general public to continue adhering to the COVID-19 prevention protocols,” the NMIMR stated in a tweet.
Following the detection of the new variant, the country has made some modifications to its protocols regarding foreign travel through the Kotoka International Airport.
GHS directed that all persons 18 years and above arriving in Ghana from December 12 must provide proof of full vaccination.
Meanwhile, “all unvaccinated Ghanaians and residents who are currently outside the country and intend to return within 14 days from the midnight of December 12, 2021 [which has now been extended to December 14] are exempted.”
This group, however, will be vaccinated on arrival at the airport.
According to the press release signed by GHS boss, Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, out of the 34 cases detected at the airport, 75% of them were unvaccinated.