The Ghana Health Service (GHS) says the Delta Coronavirus strain, originating from India, has been detected in Ghana through testing at the port health but there is currently no evidence of community spread yet.
The service said the strain was found through a generic analysis of samples collected form passengers who arrived at the Kotoka International Airport about a week ago.
The number of delta strains detected in the country so far is however not known.
Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, Director of Public Health, GHS, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra on Tuesday that the Delta variant is highly contagious and the AstraZeneca and Sputnik v vaccines are less effective against it as compared to Pfizer vaccine which is said to be 88 per cent effect against the delta strain.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has however warned that the delta variant is highly contagious, it is the fastest coronavirus strain and will ‘pick off’ the most vulnerable people in places with low vaccination rates.
He said persons who are vaccinated against COVID-19 are also at risk of contracting the virus although their level of risk and severity of infection is lower than that of those who have not been vaccinated at all.
Dr Asiedu-Bekoe said observing the COVID-19 safety protocol was the surest way to get protected against the variant saying;
“Weather, Delta, Alpha or Liter coronavirus strain the safety protocols apply to all, we all need to mask up, observe social distancing and wash our hands regularly with soap under running water”.
The public health director explained that Ghana opted for the AstraZeneca vaccine because is it easier to administer and its cold chain is common to all traditions.
He urged the public to take charge of their health and protect themselves against the virus as the nation awaits more vaccine from the COVAX Facility and explores avenues to get vaccines to vaccinate more people.
The earliest documented COVID-19 case caused by the delta variant (B.1.617.2) was first found in the Indian state of Maharashtra back in October 2020, and has since then spread widely throughout India and across the world.
The World Health Organization (WHO) labelled it a “variant of concern” (VOC) on May 11. The variant is now present in about 80 countries including Ghana and it is the most transmissible coronavirus strain.
Symptom of the delta strain identified so far includes headache, sore throat, runny nose and fever, more “traditional” Covid symptoms such as a cough and loss of smell is said to be much rarer now with younger people experiencing much more of a bad cold.