A journalist with the State’s broadcaster, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), has been instructed by the Ministry of Health to observe a mandatory self-quarantine effective Sunday.
He is suspected to have come into contact with a COVID-19 infected person at the Norwegian Embassy after he visited the facility last Tuesday to cover a story upon the invitation of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The directive came shortly after the Ministries of Information and Health, and the Ghana Health Service on Sunday announced that a top Norwegian diplomat in the country, as well as five Ghanaians, had contracted the novel coronavirus.
The Ministry’s directive forms part of a contact tracing exercise to locate all persons who have come into contact with the said victims.
The journalist, who is also a student of the Ghana Institution of Journalism (GIJ) received the message while on campus, a situation which ABC News gathers, has compelled health officials to extend the contact tracing processes to the University with focus on the students he may have come into contact with.
The Journalist cum student is said to have made several contributions in class with the only microphone which went to and fro – shared by the lecturer and the students.
ABC News on Sunday also observed that most of the washrooms on the GIJ campus lacked water, coupled with the absence of tissue paper.
Speaking to ABC News, the health journalist said he is traumatized and living in fear because he has not been feeling well for some time now.
“That Friday I went to Noguchi. I called Prof Abraham and told him how I was feeling. He said it is normal stress I shouldn’t worry. So I forgot about it, in fact I would not have come to school.
“But the Ministry of Health; the people conducting the contact tracing called me this evening and said they are checking up on me because I am on their list as part of people who have come into contact with persons with coronavirus and so I need to be self-isolating myself and that from tomorrow they will come and take my temperature and run some few tests on me. They said I should not go out from today,” he said.
Narrating what ensued at the embassy, he recalled that the only white foreigner he came into contact with was the Norwegian Ambassador, whom he interviewed and took his card but did not shake hands with.
He noted that persons including Niyi Ojuolape (UNFPA Country Representative to Ghana), a former gender minister and a lot more people were present at the embassy, observing that interactions and fun were rife at the event.
“I understand some other staff [of UNFPA] have also been told to self-quarantine until tomorrow when they will be taking them to Noguchi. The programme was done in collaboration with the embassy so top government officials were there.
“I wanted to know whether it was the man (the ambassador) because the statement said it was a staff and a lot of white ladies were there; I don’t know who their staff were.
“The only person I know is the ambassador, I know him, I took his card and that was the closest I came to him,” he stressed.
“I’m not sure but the only thing is that I am still feeling the way I was feeling before – I feel tired in a way and I don’t understand it so I don’t know what to do right now. When I think about it I fear for my life.
He expressed his preparedness to co-operate with the health authorities to know his status.
“They said tomorrow I will be called for another question and I said I am ready because I want to confirm who it is. If it is not the ambassador then I will forget about it and go about my normal business.
“I don’t really understand the contact tracing they are doing; the whole thing is complex,” he said.