Noguchi Medical Research Institute to get coronavirus test kit

The Head of Virology at the Noguchi Medical Research Institute, Prof. William Ampofo has said they are expecting to receive a shipment of coronavirus test kits.

He said the consignment which will provide a boost for Ghana's readiness towards the early detection of the virus will arrive in the country by next week.

"We are actually expecting the shipment of the new coronavirus kit so I am very confident that by next week Noguchi will be providing testing. As at now, we have a chain of international laboratories who will be able to provide confirmation should we pick up any suspected cases," he said on Accra-based Joy FM.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has identified Ghana and 12 other African countries as high-risk countries for the novel coronavirus.

Ghana, Algeria, Angola, Ivory Coast, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia were identified by WHO as African nations with direct links or a high volume of travel to China.

A statement issued by the WHO said: "WHO has identified 13 top priority countries (Algeria, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia) which either have direct links or a high volume of travel to China.

"To ensure rapid detection of the novel coronavirus, it is important to have laboratories which can test samples and WHO is supporting countries to improve their testing capacity. Since this is a new virus, there are currently only two referral laboratories in the African region which have the reagents needed to conduct such tests.

"However, reagent kits are being shipped to more than 20 other countries in the region, so diagnostic capacity is expected to increase over the coming days. Active screening at airports has been established in a majority of these countries and while they will be WHO first areas of focus, the organization will support all countries in the region in their preparation efforts.

"It is critical that countries step up their readiness and in particular put in place effective screening mechanisms at airports and other major points of entry to ensure that the first cases are detected quickly."

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