Scientist calls for review of COVID-19 safety protocols amid threat of airborne spread

Dr. John Amoasi, an infectious disease professional, has advised the government to review its COVID-19 safety protocols in light of mounting evidence that the novel coronavirus can be spread by tiny particles suspended in the air.

Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Dr. Amoasi, said: “We need to immediately begin to look at revising some of our recommendations as we wait for further information.”

“I won’t be surprised if sooner, rather than later, the government will issue some precautionary measures which will address this risk [of airborne spread],” he also opined.

An open letter from more 239 scientists from 32 countries outlined evidence they say shows floating virus particles can infect people who breathe them in.

They also posited fears that the World Health Organisation (WHO) was underestimating the possibility of airborne transmission.

Because the smaller exhaled particles can linger in the air, the scientists have been urging WHO to update its safety guidelines.

WHO subsequently acknowledged the emerging evidence that COVID-19 could effectively be airborne in crowded, closed or poorly ventilated settings.

But its officials have cautioned that the evidence is preliminary and requires further assessment.

This growing threat of airborne spread, in Dr. Amoasi’s view, limits the effectiveness of existing safety protocols.

“If there is consensus on the aerosolisation, it means that all these recommendations will need to change significantly. The implications are actually dire,” he stressed.

The recommendations from the Ghana Health Service, have focused on social distancing, regular washing and sanitising of hands and the wearing of face masks.

The health service has largely operated based on WHO guidelines.

WHO has so far only said that the virus is transmitted through droplets when people cough or sneeze.

But the tiny particles suspended in the air which may contain the virus are produced by merely talking.

These developments come as Ghana has eased most restrictions that were imposed because of the pandemic.

The Electoral Commission is engaged in the voter registration exercise and final year students are in school ahead of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination.

Ghana currently has 22,822 of the virus with 129 deaths and 17, 564 persons discharged after treatment.

The government has noted workplaces as contributing to recent surges in COVID-19 cases.

The workplace cases compelled the government to outline safety measures to guide institutions in tackling the spread of the virus at their premises.


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