Dr Franklin Asiedu Bekoe, the Head of the Disease Surveillance at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has shed more light on why the COVID-19 pandemic is transmitted exponentially in office spaces with market places recording lesser cases.
According to Dr Asiedu Bekoe, the assumption that office spaces are safer than markets and open spaces is wrong because the virus lingers for long in enclosed spaces. He also believes people in offices lower their guard when it comes to the adherence of COVID-19 safety protocols.
“The virus thrives more in enclosed spaces, especially when you’re in an office and refuse to wear your face mask because you assume you are safe amongst colleagues and people you know. That is why most people get infected when they are around people they know”, he said.
In an interview on an Accra-based TV station, Dr. Franklin Asiedu Bekoe said that there are always huge concentrations of the virus in closed spaces. That is if an infected person leaves the virus in such areas, causing it to spread more. But if the virus is released in an open space, there is less concentration to cause a more dangerous spread.
He added that the long hours spent at the workplace make individuals more prone to contracting the virus than when in the market. “Because you stay in the office all day, you are exposed to the virus for as long as eight (8) hours than the open market where you spend less time”.
Dr. Franklin Asiedu Bekoe, on his authority said this finding is what informed the reduction of the timeframe for church service to a maximum of two (2) hours.
“If you stay in an enclosed area for long hours, the infection rate of the virus is high. It is about the concentration of the virus at a point in time”, he reiterated.
Dr. Asiedu Bekoe, advocating the judicious wearing of nose masks as a critical intervention to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, said, “we should all make it a point to keep our masks on at all time and offices should go in for virtual meetings, use less of the air condition and rather open windows for ventilation to prevent the spread of the virus. No one is immune to COVID-19, always remember this if you are tempted to take off your face mask”.
In a press briefing earlier this week, the Ghana Health Service said the spike in the number of active cases recorded in the latter part of 2020 and earlier this year was as a result of a spread of the virus in various workplaces in the country.
“The workplace is a very good area to harvest cases, but what we know is that a significant match of hotspots is taking place in the workplaces. One workplace can give you 700 cases and so anytime we start reporting workplace outbreaks, it becomes problematic”, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service”, Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said.