Dr Osei Kuffuor Afreh, the Upper West Regional Director of Health Services on Tuesday said the region is on a high risk of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) due to the influx of people into the region from locked-down areas.
He said more than two thousand people had traveled into the region within three days after the President announced the partial lock-down of the Greater Accra and Ashante Regions.
Dr Afreh said this at a Risk Communication Committee Meeting at Wa to discuss effective ways of communicating the COVID-19 pandemic to the general public to dispel fear and panic among the people.
"Risk assessment of the region indicates that our risk has increased because of the locked-down, which was not immediate. We got information that many people were coming into the region", he explained.
He added that his outfit had set up a mandatory screening point at the entry of the region to identify travelers who were showing symptoms of the virus as part of efforts to manage the influx and to control the spread of the virus in the region.
He observed that through the exercise, four suspected cases of the COVID-19 were detected and quarantined at the University for Development Studies (UDS) Hospital and sample collected for testing to determine their status.
Dr Afreh indicated that they had advised all the people who travelled into the region to do self-isolation and to report to the health authorities anytime they developed any COVID-19 related symptom for the necessary action to be taken.
The Health Director noted that in all, the region had recorded 15 suspected cases and samples collected for testing in Kumasi and Accra.
Talking on the one recorded case in the region, he stated that both the victim and a close contact person identified were in isolation while about 40 contacts had been traced.
Dr Afreh indicated that transporting samples from the region to the testing centres was a big challenge to them due to the partial lock-down of the Greater Accra and Ashante Regions which had resulted to relatively closure of transport services from the Upper West Region to those areas.
He entreated the media to desist from creating fear and panic among the people as well as to reduce the stigma associated with the virus and to encourage the people to report COVID-19 related symptoms to the appropriate authorities.
Dr Afreh said the committee was working assiduously to avoid community spread of the virus in the region as it could cause havoc to the people in the region.
Mr Sinto Mustapha Nuhu, the Upper West Regional Director of the Information Service Department, noted that the region was posed to intensify education on the risk of the COVID-19 especially from neighbouring Burkina Faso as the borders were poorly managed.
He said people traveled in and out of the country through unapproved routes at Fielimon in the Sissala West District which posed a challenge to the Upper West Region.