Ghana’s health ministry on Wednesday confirmed detection of the omicron coronavirus variant in passengers who arrived in the country in November from other African countries, reported Reuters.
During the launch event of COVID-19 vaccination month, Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, the Director-General for Ghana’s Health Service, said the cases had come mainly from Nigeria and South Africa.
He said the health authorities detected the Omicron coronavirus cases through testing of passengers arriving at Ghana’s Kokota International airport.
“The good thing is that in the community test done so far, we have not seen any Omicron within the community of Ghana,” Patrick said at the vaccine campaign launch event. “But the danger is that if someone has the Omicron, and it is incubating, it will not be found at the airport.”
Francis Chisaka Kasolo, a representative of the World Health Organization, who was in attendance at the launch event confirmed the importance of getting people vaccinated.
“The only way to slow down this virus from mutating is by having as many people as possible vaccinated and by following public health measures,” he said.
Ghana’s Health Minister said the government is planning to take mobile vaccination units to churches, mosques, and other areas. He confirmed that the vaccine would be given to all above 15 years of age.
Nigeria also confirmed the country’s first cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant on Wednesday, among two passengers who had arrived from South Africa last week.
Ifedayo Adetifa, the head of Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said Nigeria’s first cases of the B.1.1.529 SARS-CoV-2 lineage, now known as the Omicron variant, was identified and confirmed through genomic surveillance.
The Omicron variant has spread across 23 countries so far, triggering travel bans across the world. The new coronavirus variant was first detected in Botswana and South Africa.