Update 13: Measures Taken Against the Spread of the Coronavirus
From tomorrow, Monday, 29th June, 2020, final year Junior High School students, in seventeen thousand, four hundred and thirty nine (17, 439) schools across the country, will return to school to prepare and sit for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). They will be the final, and, indeed, the largest batch of students to return to school.
In all, some seven hundred and fifty thousand (750, 000) persons, comprising five hundred and thirty two thousand (532,000) JHS 3 students, and two hundred and eighteen thousand (218,000) teaching and non-teaching staff, and invigilators, are expected to be involved in tomorrow’s exercise.
Like Senior High Schools, Universities and other tertiary institutions, all Junior High Schools across the country have been fumigated and disinfected.
Additionally, there have been the procurement and distribution of forty-five thousand (45,000) Veronica Buckets; ninety thousand (90,000) gallons of liquid soap; ninety thousand (90,000) rolls of tissue paper; forty thousand (40,000) thermometer guns; seven hundred and fifty thousand (750,000) pieces of 200mils sanitizers; and two million, two hundred thousand (2,200,000) reusable facemasks, i.e. three per person, all with the intent of guaranteeing the safety of the students, teaching and non-teaching staff.
JHS 3 students will be in school for 11 weeks of preparation and revision, before spending the following week to take the BECE. There will be no more than 30 students in a class, and there will be a reduced school day, with students reporting to school at 9:00am, and closing at 1pm.
No breaks outside the classroom will be permitted; assemblies and sporting events are banned; and the use by outsiders of school premises for religious and other activities will not be allowed.
As in the case for the other educational institutions, each basic school has been mapped to a health facility, and care will be provided to the sick in these health facilities by nurses assigned to these schools.
The President asserted, that as at Saturday, 27th June, 2020, the following records relating to the virus and its effects had been recorded:
- Seventeen thousand, three hundred and fifty one (17,351) confirmed cases;
- Twelve thousand, nine hundred and ninety four (12,994) recoveries, representing some 75% of positives;
- Four thousand, two hundred and forty five (4,245) active cases;
- Two hundred and ninety four thousand, eight hundred and sixty seven (294,867) tests, one of the highest on the continent;
- Thirty (30) persons are severely and critically ill;
- One hundred and twelve (112) sad deaths, constituting 0.6% of positives, as we maintain one of the lowest death rates in the world
The Ghana Health Service has observed that most of the patients that have been lost to the virus died either on arrival at the hospital, or within forty-eight (48) hours after arrival.
Unfortunately, there are some persons in the country who are not taking the dangers associated with this disease seriously, and, therefore, do not seek medical help as soon as they have symptoms that suggest an infection of the virus.
According to the President, there should be no fear of stigmatization or embarrassment with being diagnosed with COVID-19. He also added, that when you begin to experience symptoms such as fever, persistent cough, bodily pains, loss of taste and smell, and difficulty in breathing, seek immediate medical attention at the nearest health facility.
Most patients, who are critically ill and need intensive care, do indeed, survive the virus, if they seek medical help promptly. For example, out of fifty-three (53) patients admitted into intensive care units (ICU) at the Ga East Municipal Hospital and the University of Ghana Medical Centre, since the pandemic struck, forty-four (44) i.e. 83%, have fully recovered, and have been discharged.
The President announced the extension of the intensive package for health workers by another three (3) months. This means that all health workers will pay no income taxes for the three months, i.e. July, August and September.
Again, all frontline health workers, as defined by the Ministry of Health, will continue to receive the additional allowance of fifty percent (50%) of their basic salary per month, i.e. for July, August and September.
“I know the implementation of this directive for the months of April, May and June has been fraught with some challenges, caused, mainly, by the protracted discussions over the definition of who qualifies as “frontline health workers” in this context. I have, however, been assured that they have now been resolved, and payments will be effected from the end of June. I should reiterate that the insurance package for health workers is still in place.”-His Excellency the President of the Republic asserted.
Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo stated, that he has been very encouraged by how our religious leaders have supported and embraced the fight against COVID-19, despite their concerns with some elements of the prescribed safety protocols and guidelines. He promised to continue engaging with them and other stakeholders, in our collective efforts to defeat the virus.
The President cautioned, that adhering to the enhanced social distancing and hygiene protocols will not only save our lives, but also prevent our healthcare infrastructure from being over-burdened. He also added that we should wash our hands with soap under running water, use alcohol-based sanitizers, maintain the protocols on social distancing, avoid person to person contact, eat our local foods that boost our immune systems, and yes, wear masks at all times when we leave our homes, and according to him, these are the weapons of our battle.
The President expressed his profound appreciation by saying the following words;
“As we cross the halfway point of 2020, arguably one of the most difficult years in recent memory, I continue to feel a sense of gratitude, determination and faith. Gratitude towards you, the Ghanaian people, who have shown such extraordinary grace and selflessness throughout this difficult period. Determination in my work for all of you, bringing Ghana through this crisis and beyond, and making sure we come out of this stronger than ever before; and Faith in the One true God who orders our every step.”