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Govt stopped testing coronavirus because it lacked funds – Murtala claims

Mon, 17 Aug 2020 Source: 3 News

A former Deputy Trade Minister, Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed, has claimed that the government has ordered COVID-19 testing in the country to be halted because it lacked funds to pay for the testing.

He explained on the TV3 New Day on Monday, August 17 that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cannot say that the COVID-19 situation is experiencing a downward trend at a time testing has stopped.

Murtala, who is a former Member of Parliament for Nanton, said, it is only when testing is conducted that the government can conclude that the infections are going down.

President Akufo-Addo has revealed that the measures his government outlined to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country are achieving results.

In his address to the nation on Sunday, August 16, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo revealed there are currently no active cases in the North East, Savannah, Upper East and Upper West regions.

This, he attributed to the measures that were put in place to deal with the spread. “As of Saturday, the active cases stand at 1,847. This is a clear indication that government policies are working.

“Currently, there are no recorded COVID-19 cases in the North East Savannah, Upper East, and Upper West Regions and I charge the residents to do everything possible to maintain that situation.

“Greater Accra, Ashanti, Central, Eastern, and Western continue to be the regions with the highest number of active cases. Thus far, a total of 40,567 persons have recovered from the virus. This means our recovery rate has improved from 89.5% to 95.1% in three weeks. Our death rate continues, mercifully, to be low at .5%,” he said.

But reacting to this, Murtala said the government must expand testing before these conclusions can be drawn.

He said, “it is important for us to understand that there has been a reduction in the number of tests. The government’s position is that we were spending a lot of money, which is about 100 dollars per test.

“So, there has been a directive and you can check how many of the testing are being conducted and what has been with the number of testing, and indeed whether the government has indicated whether testing should be stopped.

“If you don’t do testing how will we be able to say that we have reduced the number of infections.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Egyapa Mercer, Member of Parliament for Sekondi, said the claim is not true and should be disregarded.

He said, “it is surprising how my brother is drawing conclusions. Is he suggesting that the actual samples are taken to Noguchi and tested and they are refused to be tested because according to him the government says there is no money?

“In any event, when was any announcement made by the government that it hasn’t got money to do testing so we should stop?

“The truth of the matter is that the fact and data on the ground point to a position that clearly, we don’t have the situation that we have in other countries.”

Source: 3 News
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