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No evidence Chloroquine can treat coronavirus – Dr. Sarkodie

No evidence Chloroquine can treat coronavirus – Dr. Sarkodie

The Director of Public Health, Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Badu Sarkodie, says they have no evidence that Chloroquine Phosphate 250mg is an effective treatment of the flu-like coronavirus (COVID-19).

He was reacting to claims on social media that Chloroquine Phosphate 250mg had been found by French and Chinese doctors to be effective for treatment of the virus.

Dr. Sarkodie in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said although the claim sounded promising, the GHS had not had any efficacy clinical trial to confirm that.

They could therefore not make any recommendation for the use of the drug to treat the virus.

"I cannot dispute the claim so the person saying this should provide more information because we have not sighted any publication to this effect," he added.

Coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan in Hubei Province, China, is now spreading much more rapidly outside China than within the country, leading the world into uncharted territory.

The World Health Organization (WHO), however, said on Monday that the outbreak could still be contained.

Almost nine times as many cases had been reported in the past 24 hours beyond China than inside, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, adding that, the risk of coronavirus spreading was now very high at a “global level”.

He said outbreaks in South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan were the greatest concern, but that there was evidence surveillance methods were working in South Korea, the worst affected country outside China, and the epidemic could be contained there.

“We are in uncharted territory - we have never seen before a respiratory pathogen that is capable of community transmission but at the same time which can also be contained with the right measures,” he told a news briefing in Geneva.

Deaths globally have now passed 3,000. Most are in China but in the past day there were nine times more new infections outside China than inside.

There are now almost 90,000 cases worldwide in about 70 countries, although the vast majority - just under 90% - remain in China, and most of those are in Hubei province, where the virus originated late last year.

Of the nearly 8,800 cases outside China, 81% are in four countries - Iran, South Korea, Italy and Japan.

Dr. Sarkodie advised Ghanaians to adhere to the preventive measures for their safety -regularly and thoroughly wash hands with soap and water, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer and to maintain at least one and half metres (5 feet) distance between oneself and anyone, coughing or sneezing.