90% of COVID-19 positive samples taken from the Takoradi Veterinary Laboratory have been confirmed by Noguchi to be UK’s B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 new variant.
The supervisor of the Takoradi Veterinary Laboratory, Dr. Simon Gbene, said this in an interview with Citi News in Takoradi.
He also disclosed that the Western Region is currently recording about 45 COVID-19 positive cases daily which represents an increase of 15 percent daily positive cases.
“Currently our daily testing is around 150 to 200 samples, and we are recording positives; 40 to 45 positives daily. It can go up depending on the number of samples we get. If we talk about the new variant, we actually cannot test for it, however, we are working together with Noguchi.”
“They have the capacity to do the genome-sequencing. So they came for some positive samples from our lab [Takoradi Veterinary Lab], and from their test results, we are getting about 90% of the samples they took being the B.1.1.7 which is the United Kingdom’s variant and that actually explains the ramping up of the numbers we are getting currently.”
“This new variant is heavily infectious, thus about 70% more than the old version and also deadlier than the old version. So that is the situation we are currently faced with and that’s why you could see that the Western Region numbers are going up. There is one unique thing that is causing this because there are a lot of foreign companies here due to the oil and gas industry in the Western Region,” he said.
New route of infection
While calling for increased observation of the protocols, Dr. Gbene, also revealed that his study shows that the eyes is a new source of infection hence must be protected.
“My advise to the public is that, currently we are looking at the route of transmission and most people are much concerned with the nose and then the mouth. From my study, I’m realizing that the eye is a very important route that we should look at. This is because when people come, and you interview them, you realize that they follow all the protocols but what they are not doing is covering their eyes. So if you don’t cover your eyes, and you get into a situation where the people are not wearing nose masks and the social distancing is not being respected, especially when you’re closer to somebody less than one metre away, if that person speaks, and he is infected and some of the droplets fall on your eyes, of course, you can get the disease. So my caution to the public is that, looking at how infectious this new variant is, we should be very careful of our eyes.”
Meanwhile, the Public Health Emergency Management Committee of the Western Region says 80% of new cases recorded in the Western Region on Friday came from Sekondi/Takoradi.
Out of a total of 165 positive cases recorded on Friday, 132 came from STMA. Total active cases in the Western Region now stands at 448.