Update No. 15: Measures Taken Against Spread of Corona Virus

The President expressed his profound gratitude to the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Mrs. Jean Mensa; her two Deputies, Dr. Eric Asare Bossman and Mr. Samuel Tettey, and the entire Commission for the efficient, safe, and transparent nature of the registration exercise, where, for the first time in our nation’s history, Ghanaians were provided with daily updates of the numbers of eligible voters registered, together with a specific age, gender, regional breakdowns, and breakdowns of identity documents.

According to the President, the Ghanaian people have, by the conduct of the exercise, demonstrated their commitment, once again, to consolidate our status as a beacon of democracy on the continent and in the world.

As of 24th July, the number of active cases, i.e. persons with the virus, stood at three thousand, three hundred and seven (3,307). As of Saturday, 15th August, three weeks later, the number of active cases stands at one thousand, eight hundred and forty –seven (1,847). This is a clear indication that Government policies are working, the president asserted.

His Excellency stated that, currently, there are no recorded COVID-19 cases in the North East, Savannah, Upper East, and Upper West Regions, and he charged their residents to do everything possible to maintain that situation. He added that Greater Accra, Ashanti, Central, Eastern, and Western continue to be the Regions with the highest number of active cases.

The President reported that a total of forty thousand, five hundred and sixty-seven (40,567) persons have recovered from the virus. This means that the recovery rate has improved from 89.5% to 95.1% in three weeks. ‘Our death rate continues, mercifully, to be low at zero-point five percent (0.5%).’—the President stated.

There are no backlogs of tests at any of our testing centers, meaning that situational reports are up to date. Indeed, test results that used to take weeks are now available with forty-eight (48) hours.

The President added that our health workers will forever be in our debt for the dedication they have put in to ensure these impressive statistics. He continued by emphasizing that we can help them even further, by continuing to adhere to the social distancing and hygiene protocols we have instituted to stem the tide of infections.

His Excellency was encouraged by the results of a recent survey conducted by the Ghana Health Service into the use of the face masks at selected locations in Accra in the month of August. It revealed that the overall intention to use face masks at the sites surveyed was very high, with 82% of persons surveyed possessing a mask. He was optimistic that we can do even more, and reach 100%.

The survey also demonstrated that only 44.3% of those who have the mask use them correctly. He urged each and everyone to wear their masks and do so correctly anytime they leave their homes. He categorically added that it is the new normal requirement of our daily existence until the virus disappears.

Most final year university students have already completed their examinations, and, by 18th September, SHS 3 and JHS 3 students would have finished their respective final examinations of WASSCE and BECE.

In complying with COVID-19 protocols, the President has instructed the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection to begin preparations to ensure that, as from 24th August up to 18th September, all five hundred and eighty-four thousand (584,000) final year JHS students, and one hundred and forty-six thousand (146,000) staff, both in public and private schools, be given one hot meal a day. This is to ensure full observance of the COVID-19 safety protocols.

Through online learning portals, almost all continuing students in our Universities have completed their studies for the academic year. The exceptions are the University of Cape Coast, the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Technical Universities, and some other Colleges.

After extensive stakeholder consultations, the decision has been taken for continuing students in these tertiary institutions to return to school, on 24th August, to finish their academic year.

The Ministry of Education continues to engage the Ghana Education Service (GES) and all relevant stakeholders to conclude discussions on the modalities surrounding the reopening of our pre-tertiary schools. The President promised to communicate, in due course, the decisions that will be reached from these consultations.

The Ministry of Aviation, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and the Ghana Airports Co. Ltd., have been working, with the Ministry of Health and its agencies, to ascertain the nation’s readiness to reopen our international airport.

According to the President, he wants to ensure that we are in a position to test every single passenger that arrives in the country to avoid the spread of the virus.  He added that until further notice, our borders, by air, land, and sea, remain closed to human traffic. Again he informed that for Ghanaian residents stranded abroad, a special dispensation will continue to be given for their evacuation back to Ghana, where they will be subjected to the mandatory quarantine and safety protocols.

Beaches, pubs, cinemas and nightclubs are still to remain closed until further notice.

The limit on the number of persons who can attend conferences, workshops and award events, has now been lifted, subject to the maintenance of social distancing amongst participants, fresh air ventilation of the premises, and a two-hour limit for each session.

‘We are not providing freebies; we are providing critical help to households, families, and businesses, in the midst of this pandemic, because we care. It is my conviction that, in times of crises, it is the duty of a responsible and sensitive Government to protect the population, and provide relief.’—the President stated.

His Excellency cautioned that this phased opening up of our country continues to put an obligation and responsibility on each one of us to remain vigilant, and respect the enhanced hygiene, mask-wearing and social distancing protocols that have become part and parcel of our daily routine. They are providing to be effective, so let us employ them wholeheartedly.

‘There is no room for complacency; we must be very much on guard because some countries have experienced spikes after recording major achievement in containing the spread of the virus. We should not go down that road. Social distancing, enhanced hygiene and the wearing of masks are obligatory for each one of us.’—His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo emphasized!

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