In his last address, the President’s hope was that we would begin to see an improvement in our case count. Two weeks from that address, the situation is even worse.
As of Friday, 29th January, sixty-four (64) more people have, sadly died, over the last two weeks, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths to four hundred and sixteen (416). Hospitalization rates are increasing, with the number of critically and severely ill persons now at one hundred and seventy-two (172).
Hospitals have become full, and isolation centres have been reactivated. Average daily rate of infection now stands at seven hundred, compared to two hundred two weeks ago.
The total number of active cases has more than doubled, from a little of over one thousand nine hundred (1900), two weeks ago, to five thousand, three hundred and fifty-eight (5,358) currently.
When update No. 22 was delivered, thirteen (13) out of sixteen (16) regions had recorded active cases; now, all sixteen (16) regions have active cases; Greater Accra, Central, Western, Ashanti, Eastern, Upper East, Upper West, Volta, and Northern Regions are the hardest hit, accounting for ninety-four percent (94%) of the total number of active cases.
The President asserted that there is a lot of work to be done in coming to grips with the disease. He admonished us to understand that our current situation could get very dire if efforts are not made, both on the part of government and by us, the citizenry to help contain the virus.
The imposition of restrictions on daily routines helped in reducing the prevalence of the pandemic in the country, and government has been left with no option but to reintroduce some of these restrictions to help save the situation. The President assured the nation of bringing back the unpleasant measures which were earlier placed to salvage the situation.
Funerals, weddings, concerts, theatrical performances, and parties are banned. Private burials with no more than twenty-five (25) people can take place with the reinforcement of the social distancing, hygiene and mask wearing protocols.
Beaches, night clubs, cinemas and pubs continue to be shut. Borders by land and sea remain closed.
All workplaces, be it public and private, must employ a shift system for workers, in addition to the use of virtual platforms for business or work. Conferences and workshops can take place with all the appropriate protocols. The use of virtual platforms for such engagements are seriously encouraged.
Restaurants should provide takeaway services, and should, as much as possible avoid seated services.
The National Sports Authority and Ghana Football Association should ensure compliance with the twenty-five (25%) percent capacity room in our stadia, with spectators respecting the social distancing rule and wearing of mask.
The revered leaders of religious organisations, i.e., churches and mosques, should enforce to the latter, the protocols relating to attendance, i.e., the two-hour duration, one-metre social distancing, mask wearing, use of sanitizers, and the presence of veronica buckets, liquid soap, and rolls of tissue paper.
Few cases have been witnessed since the re-opening of schools, two weeks ago, amongst students. School authorities and teachers should enforce the guidelines provided by the Ghana Education Service, and the Ghana Health Service should continue their surveillance at the schools, to be able to contain recorded cases.
The President admonished that if there is no urgent reason for one to be outside, the person should stay at home.
The President is of a strong belief that if we continue to practice the measures of social distancing, washing our hands with soap under running water, refraining from shaking hands, and, wearing our masks whenever we leave our homes, we can all help contain the spread.
Should anyone at a point feel unwell or exhibit the most common symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, dry cough, tiredness, the person should report to the nearest health facility and get tested, the President cautioned.
COVID-19 tests are free for all Ghanaians at public health institutions. If a Ghanaian citizen returns a positive result, the cost of care at isolation and treatment centres will be borne by Government.
The President briefed the nation on what transpired at the 58th Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, which was held virtually. It was agreed that the cost of the COVID test for in-bound ECOWAS nationals be pegged at fifty United States dollars ($50) at the Kotoka International Airport.
The cost of the test for non-ECOWAS nationals remains one hundred and fifty ($150) dollars. ECOWAS nationals and travellers, who test positive, will bear the cost of the mandatory isolation and treatment. Ghanaian nationals, however, who test positive, upon their arrival into the country, will have their isolation and treatment costs borne by the State.
The aim is to vaccinate the entire population, with an initial target of twenty million people.
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) will use its established processes for granting emergency-use-authorisation for each vaccine in Ghana. His Excellency assured that only vaccines that have been evaluated and declared as safe-for-use in Ghana will be administered.
“Government will continue to monitor our COVID-19 situation and will remain resolved in ensuring that we are able to return to normal daily routines. I remain hopeful that if each one of us embraces fully the safety protocols, and we continue to put our faith in the Almighty, we will emerge strongly from this pandemic.”—Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo.
The beginning of what is now the State Interests and Governance Authority, SIGA is traceable to the State Enterprise Secretariat (SES), which was incorporated in 1965 under a Legislative Instrument (L.I. 47).
The core mandate of the State Enterprise Secretariat was to promote within the framework of Government policy, the efficient and profitable operations of Statutory Corporations engaged in trade and industry.