Bishop Charles Agyinasare and his church, Perez Chapel International, have fasted and prayed for God’s protection for Ghana from the Coronavirus outbreak in China.
The BBC reports that a sense of anxiety is growing in Wuhan as the Chinese city goes into lockdown in an effort to control the spread of the new virus which has killed 17 people so far.
All the fatalities so far have been in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital.
The Chinese authorities have suspended planes and trains in and out of the city of 11 million people, as well as buses, subways and ferries.
Residents have been told not to leave.
There are more than 500 confirmed cases of the virus, which has spread abroad.
Wuhan is at the centre of the outbreak and believed to be where the virus originated.
The lockdown in the city comes as millions of Chinese people travel across the country for the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.
The virus originated in a seafood market in Wuhan that “conducted illegal transactions of wild animals”, authorities have said.
The market has been shut down since the beginning of the year.
Some researchers have suggested the illness may have originated in snakes. A study published on Wednesday in the Journal of Medical Virology said genetic analysis suggests snakes are “the most probable wildlife animal reservoir” for the virus but this would need to be confirmed by other studies.
Other researchers have questioned the claim.
There is also evidence of human-to-human transmission with the virus having spread from patients to family members and healthcare workers.
The virus infects the lungs and symptoms. It starts with a fever and cough. It can progress to shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
After a day of discussions in Geneva on Wednesday, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergency committee announced it would not yet declare a “global emergency” over the new virus.
There have been cases in several countries, including as far away as the United States.
The first US case was confirmed on Tuesday. President Donald Trump said the situation was “totally under control” and that he trusted the information being provided by Chinese authorities.
Hong Kong reported its first two cases on Wednesday and one case was also reported in the nearby city of Macau.
There have been three cases in Thailand, one in Korea, one in Japan and one in Taiwan.
Although only about 500 cases have been confirmed globally, calculations by scientists at the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College London estimate there could be 4,000 people sick with the virus in Wuhan.
In Ghana, the Health Ministry has announced that it is putting in place measures, including screening all passengers who fly to Ghana from China, to prevent the spread of the virus.
“As part of measures to prevent an outbreak in Ghana, passengers from China will undergo enhanced screening procedures, including the administration of health questionnaires. Health facilities have also been alerted to prepare and manage cases in case of outbreak,” a statement from the MoH noted.
The statement, signed by sector minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, assured the public that Ghana has in-country capacity to diagnose the infection at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.
The authorities have, however, cautioned the public to regularly wash their hands with soap and water, be distant from persons showing signs of fever and immediately seek treatment upon suspicion of infection.
Leading his congregation in prayers on Wednesday night at the Perez Dome as part of the church’s month-long fasting and praying activities, Bishop Agyinasare said: “There is a new virus that has sprung up from Wuhan, China, and currently, it has been identified in the US. In fact, the Ghana Health Service has issued a statement, I got a copy today. But we are going to pray”.
“In some of those places [China, US], when those things break out, they can easily contain them: they have the medical facilities, they have the doctors, and all that because in some of those places, every 1,000 people have a doctor. In fact, in those places, 300 people have a doctor. For us, it’s 10,000 people to a doctor. We want to pray.
“We want to say: ‘Father, any epidemic that is breaking out anywhere, we draw a bloodline over our nation that by the power of the Holy Ghost because of the bloodline, it will not come near us by the power of the Holy Ghost’.
“Let’s say it again: ‘Father, in the name of Jesus, the Coronavirus, that has broken out, will not come near our dwelling, we draw a bloodline on the borders of this nation, that a 1,000 will fall at one side, 10,000 on the other side, it shall not come near our dwelling’.
“By reason of the blood, we lift up the blood over our borders, by the power of the Holy Ghost, we lift up the blood”, Bishop Agyinasare led the church.