Highlights on The President’s Address to The Nation on The Covid-19 Pandemic (Update No. 25)

In the President’s last address, he stated that he was embarking on a nine-day official working visit to France, Belgium and South Africa as part of efforts to ensure the nation’s post covid economic recovery is fast and sustained. He added that the update had been pre-recorded prior to leaving the country.

He further expressed his gratitude to the National Chief Imam, Sheik Osman Nuhu Sharubutu and the entire Muslim community for adhering to request to have a subdued Eid ul-Fitr celebrations, devoid of large gatherings.

His Excellency said, that many Ghanaians are adhering to the set protocols and law enforcement agencies acting against parties flouting the regulations in place.

The Imposition of the Restrictions Act 2020 (Act 1012) remains in force and security agencies will continue to enforce it until the required number of Ghanaians have been vaccinated and achieved herd immunity, which will help return our lives to normalcy.

There is a reduction in active cases from 5,444 persons as of 26th February to 1,314 as at 11th May.

The rate of infection has also reduced significantly from 400 a day from the last update to less than a hundred. The number of persons recovered have increased from 77,972 to 91,146 within the same period.

176 more persons have unfortunately lost their lives to COVID-19. A total of 1,121,168 COVID tests have been conducted in the country.

The President said that, since the announcement of the arrival of the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccines, together with the procurement and receipt of others, two phases of the country’s vaccination plan has been rolled out.

The first phase involves vaccinating a segment of the population in 43 districts which include health workers, persons with co-morbidities, physically challenged persons, journalists, frontline security personnel and a cross section of persons in the three arms of government.

The second phase involves vaccinating all the other health workers across the country. Almost a million persons have received the first dose of the vaccine.

According to the President, many vaccines have not been secured and persons have not been vaccinated as desired and this is due to international vaccine politics, the unpredictability of the supply chain and a third wave of infections in some countries in Asia and Europe. In spite of these obstacles, the target is to vaccinate approximately 20 million Ghanaians, being the entire adult population of Ghana by the end of the year.

The government has received an additional 350,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines through COVAX. These will be added to the existing stock to provide a second jab for the persons in the 43 districts in the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Central regions who received their first jabs from 1st to 9th March.

Beginning 19th May to 26th May, the deployment of the second dose of vaccine will take place, approximately 12 weeks after the first jab as the science prescribes. The Ghana Health Service will communicate more details of deployment in the coming week.

Efforts are being made to ensure that those who received their first jabs after 9th March will receive the second in due course.

An additional 300,000 doses of Sputnik V vaccines, which have been approved by the food and drugs authority, are expected to arrive in the country. All efforts to achieve the overall vaccination target are being made. Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Information will update Ghanaians on progress on vaccine acquisition.

His Excellency reiterated that, as captured in the travel directive jointly issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and the Ghana Health Service, all non-essential trips from countries with high COVID-19 infection rates should either cancel or postpone. He added that the country will continue to review its travel restriction measures.

The government has begun the process of digitising PCR test results to ensure ease of verification. The technology platform being used at the airport is based on standards set by the Africa Trust Travel and ECOWAS Biomars. Travellers arriving in Ghana must have test results bearing the trusted travel or biomars codes to be acceptable at KIA.

Government has re-evaluated quality checks on testing at the airport and is satisfied with its specificity and sensitivity. Arriving passengers who test positive will follow the laid down procedure, whereas passengers testing negative on arrival from COVID hotspots may be subject to retesting on the third day of arrival.

The President pressed on the fact that the fight with the virus was not over. The havoc being experienced by some countries as a result of the virus is testament to the fact.

He urged Ghanaians to continue to adhere to the safety protocols which have become a part of our daily activities.

He expressed his gratitude to parents, teachers and students, that the significant investments made in ensuring compliance with the safety protocols have enabled schools to be opened in safety.

Also, necessary protocols put in place have allowed Ghanaians to return to churches, mosques, workplaces, markets, stadia and to travel. Closed spaces such as theatres and nightclubs remain restricted.

In the move to open cinemas and theatres, Government has engaged the owners and operators on a set of protocols and guidelines to be put in place before the eventual reopening. The Ghana Health Service and Ghana Tourism Authority will announce these mandatory modalities aimed at ensuring the health and safety of its staff and patrons.

The president remains optimistic that lives can return to normalcy if we co-operate and work together. He cautioned that we should not let the reduced rate of infections lull us into a false sense of security. He urged Ghanaians to continually adhere to the covid protocols and take the vaccines, and also continue to out our faith in God.

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