The offices of the Norwegian Embassy and the United Nation (UN) agencies in Ghana have shut down indefinitely after it turned out that the two confirmed cases of the deadly Coronavirus (Covid-19)in Ghana are all staff of these agencies.
“The Embassy of Norway can confirm that one of our colleagues has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. The person is in quarantine and the Embassy is in close dialogue with Ghana Health Service. Routine contact tracing has commenced. The Embassy is closed to the public until further notice, but staff are operating from home. We urge everybody to follow the preventive measures issued by the WHO and Ghanaian authorities,” read a statement from the Norwegian Embassy on their social media platform.
The situation gets even grimmer as Whatsup News gathered that on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana, Grunnar Andreas Holm help a party at his residence where diplomats from other embassies and their families, Ghana government officials and the business community were all in attendance in what could cause unsuspecting transmission of the human-to-human Covid-19.
The unnamed UN staff and the Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana are the two officially confirmed Covid-19 cases in Ghana as announced by the Ministry of Health.
But critics think the party at the Ambassador’s residence could have spread the infection through a lot more crème de la crème of the society.
While the UN staff had reportedly returned to Ghana from travel in Turkey on 29th February 2020 and fell ill shortly after, the Norwegian Ambassador had also returned from an official engagement in his home country which has been badly hit by Covid-19.
At the party, parents of the three major international schools in Ghana: the Lincoln Community School, the Ghana International School (GIS) and the German-Swiss School were in attendance and could possibly have passed any potential infection to their wards.
This reality has forced the three schools to shut down today as the exposed families have been advised to self-quarantine.
Incidentally, the Norwegian Ambassador was in close contact with President Akufo Addo and several cabinet ministers and government advisors when they travelled to Norway around February 24, 2020 to inaugurate the Ghanaian Embassy in Norway.
President Akufo Addo and his entourage had had handshakes and cordial interaction with the infected Andreas Holms. The exact time of his infection is unknown, but experts say the Covid-19 takes between 14 and 21 days of gestation period to manifest in a patient.
Within this gestation period, patients can still infect others whom they may have had contact with. Given the timeline, it appears the President of Ghana and his entourage of cabinet ministers may be candidates for possible infection.
A statement released by the Ministry on Thursday night (March 12, 2020), said laboratory test of the two cases at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research proved positive.
“Fellow Ghanaians, the Ministry of Health has confirmed two cases of COVID-19. The cases were confirmed on the 12th March, 2020, and the first cases to be reported in Ghana,” read a statement signed by the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu.
The cases according to the Health Minister were reported as ‘imported cases’ as both individuals returned to Ghana from Norway and Turkey. “Both individuals returned to Ghana from Norway and Turkey. So these are imported cases of COVID-19,” the statement read.
These are the first official cases of the COVID-19 pandemic to test positive in Ghana after almost four months since the deadly virus had ravaged most parts of the world. Earlier, about 57 suspected cases in Ghana all tested negative.
So far, over 130,000 people have been infected in the pandemic worldwide and some 5,000 have already died from it.