A new COVID-19 discharge guideline released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that persons infected with COVID-19 who show mild or no symptoms after 10 to 14 days are not infectious.
What the new WHO scientific evidence has established means that after 10 days of the disease onset, asymptomatic, or patients who do not show symptoms stand a very limited chance of transmitting the disease.
Following this new scientific evidence, the WHO has announced new discharge guidelines for COVID-19 which many countries, including the European Union (EU) have started implementing.
The Ghana Health Service announced on Thursday it would adhere to the new discharge advisory by the WHO, and this has resulted in a significant rise in the number of recoveries in Ghana.
The latest figure released by the Ghana Health Service this evening showed about 10,074, who were subjected to the latest WHO recovery guidelines have recovered, leaving Ghana with 3558 active cases.
Prior to the new scientific evidence which informed the WHO's new discharge guidelines, infected persons on treatment required to record two consecutive negative tests before they were discharged even if they showed mild or no symptoms after 10 to 14 days.
But with new WHO scientific evidence showing that remnants of the virus in the system get too weak to be contagious after 10-14 days of mild or no symptoms, such infected persons are now to be discharged after their first negative.
Ghana Health Service Revised Discharge Guidelines
Following the new discharge guidelines announced by the WHO, the Ghana Health Service has announced an amendment to Ghana's COVID-19 Discharge Policy in conformity with new global guidelines.
Ghana was one of the few countries which strictly adhered to the old discharge system of allowing patients, with or without symptoms to remain at treatment centres until a second test came out negative before their discharge.
Addressing the media in Accra on Thursday, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Patrick Kuma Aboagye, said with the amendment, asymptomatic (patients without symptoms) who are admitted would be made to go home after 14 days of treatment without a second test.
He disclosed, however, that their second test, which was previously conducted at the hospital before their discharge, would now be conducted on the patient from home while they are under self-observation.
He further disclosed that under the new discharge guidelines, symptomatic patients will be on admission for 14 days and then discharged after a minimum of three days when they do not show any symptoms.
Having started implementing the new discharge policy recommended by the WHO, Dr. Aboagye said 146 patients who were discharged had been followed up and on the average, they all tested negative 14 days after their samples had been taken and that made the new policy worthwhile.
Dr Kuma Aboagye further explained that being discharged from the treatment centre did not mean one had completely recovered from the virus. He said that meant a person had gone through treatment after testing positive and had tested the first negative, was well and awaiting the second negative result to be declared recovered.
Just as the new WHO scientific evidence revealed, the Ghana Health Service boss stressed that people who were discharged posed no threat of transmitting the virus to the public so there is no need to continue to detain them at treatment centres.
Ghana's policy of conducting a second test from home is an improvement on the new WHO guidelines which say that patients with only one negative who show no symptoms are free.