The Ketu South and Ketu North Public Health Emergency Management Committees have begun testing security officers along the Ghana-Togo border in the two south eastern border districts of the Volta Region.
With the number of cases in the Volta Region steadily rising, reaching 34, the Regional Public Health Emergency Management Committee is supervising mass testing in what it calls emerging hotspots in the region; thus Ketu South Municipality and its neighbour Ketu North.
The Ketu South Municipal Chief (MCE), Elliot Agbenorwu who confirmed this exercise recently said the mass testing which covers security personnel, market women, transport operators, commercial motor riders had become necessary after Ketu South's COVID-19 cases represent over 60 percent of the 34 cases recorded in the region so far.
About 15 of the 21 cases are foreigners all of whom entered the country through unapproved routes despite the country's borders being closed.
It is believed that some community members, especially commercial motor riders may have aided these foreigners hence, the possibility of a community spread could be high hence the mass testing in those areas.
The MCE observed that “We have reports that there are some people who are still assisting people to cross, but we are unable to get hold of these people.”
To this end, apart from the mass testing, the assembly is considering the use of drones. “When the drone is able to patrol, take some pictures and videos and capture one or two people who will be punished, it will deter others from doing so,” he hinted.
The Deputy Regional Director of Health who is in charge of Public Health, Dr. Senanu Kwesi Djokoto further explained that Ketu North had been added because it shares boundary with Ketu South and it is also a border community with uncountable unapproved routes just like Ketu South.
He added that the mass testing which began about a week ago have already tested security personnel along the border in the Ketu South Municipality.
Testing of market women, transport operators, commercial drivers, commercial motor riders and other residents along the border line in Ketu South is ongoing.
He said after Ketu South the team of who are being backed by personnel from the regional COVID-19 response team will move to Ketu North to undertake same exercise.
Dr. Kwesi Djokoto said all the groups being tested during the mass testing are groups considered to be at a higher risk of being infected to this end, should the number of infections go up in the region, residents should not be alarmed as it is an opportunity to contain the spread.
He hinted that the test will cover thousands of residents in the two jurisdictions. Nonetheless, enhanced surveillance will continue and testing will be done as when groups at relative risk are identified.
Dr. Djokoto commended the Chief Executives of the wo districts and urged the Public Health Emergency Management Committees there to ensure the markets are decongested, spacious commercial vehicles, mandatory wearing of nose masks and enhance collaboration with border communities to reduce the use of unapproved routes by illegal immigrants.