Parents urged not to panic over coronavirus outbreak in schools


Following infections of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in some schools in the country, health and medical experts are calling for more proactive measures to contain the disease.

Although they say there is no need for parents and the general public to panic over the issue, they say government and relevant bodies concerned with the handling of COVID-19 in the country must be more proactive.

Speaking on TV3’s weekend current affairs programme, Key Points, Dr Yaw Bediako, an immunologist said there was no need for unnecessary panic despite school children returning to the classroom for academic work.

According to him, the school children would be more exposed to the COVID-19 since they had moved from different societies where the disease was prevalent and called for more robust systems to contain the disease and prevent its spread in schools.

He explained that schools had to be kept open to enable students to learn and be progressive in their education and recommended that there should be direct targeting of schools in particular areas.

“Central Region is a hotspot for COVID-19. We have a lot of high schools in the region so that will be a place where if we could find the resources, we could start with random sampling to know the burden in schools in this region and adjust our strategies accordingly,” he said.

He stated that, as a country, “We have to be highly vigilant so we can control the outbreak (of the COVID-19) when it occurs and isolate people and prevent it from spreading too far.”

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Dr Bediako also called for routine and random surveillance especially in areas where there was a high burden of the COVID-19 which would assist in understanding the prevalence within schools and track it.

He said that doing so would, “Go a long way to give parents a little peace of mind, and most importantly, guide the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ghana Education Service (GES) on where to concentrate resources.”

Regarding the use of hydrogen peroxide, the immunologist shared in the view espoused by the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and said there was no scientific evidence that it could be used in the treatment or prevention of the COVID-19.

Dr Bediako emphasised that, “It is a very different thing to now say that hydrogen peroxide has the ability to protect from COVID-19. The idea that I am going to protect myself from contracting COVID-19 with hydrogen peroxide in my view, there is no evidence for it.”

While allaying fears of parents and the public about the cases of the COVID-19 in schools, the Director of Public Health at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Asiedu Bekoe called for stricter adherence to the safety protocols.

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He also said going forward, the Service would have periodic surveillance in schools because of the level of infections so as to know the behaviour of the virus in schools, and said, “The infections may occur but our focus is to ensure that we can detect early and contain them.”

During a press briefing last Tuesday, the Director-General of the GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said schools in the country were recording a limited number of COVID-19 positive cases.

He stated specifically that, “Greater Accra, has cumulatively reported about 20 cases in a couple of schools.

Similarly, 42 COVID-19 cases were recorded at the Akosombo International School after the screening was conducted for staff and students due to the reopening of the school.

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