The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo, on Sunday, January 17 delivered his 23rd COVID-19 update to the country.
GhanaPlus.com brings you the full text of the President speech, on Ghana’s enhance response to the COVID-19 pandemic which was first recorded in the country in March 2019.
Fellow Ghanaians, good evening.
I came into your homes, on 17th January, to give an account of our COVID-19 situation – a situation which, per available data at the time, was not good.
To this end, I appealed to you, my fellow Ghanaians, to help contain the spread of the virus by respecting the protocols Government had put in place.
The hope was that we would begin to see an improvement in our case count, as a result. Two weeks on 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). Our hospitalization rates are increasing, with the number of critically and severely ill persons now at one hundred and seventy-two (172).
Our hospitals have become full, and we have had to reactivate our isolation centres. Our average daily rates of infection now stand at seven hundred (700), compared to two hundred (200) two weeks ago.
The total number of active cases has more than doubled, from a little over one thousand, nine hundred (1,900), two weeks ago, to five thousand, three hundred and fifty-eight (5,358) currently.
When I delivered Update No. 22, thirteen (13) out of the sixteen (16) regions had recorded active cases; today, all sixteen (16) regions have active cases.
Indeed, 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.
In effect, fellow Ghanaians, we have a lot of work to do in coming to grips with the disease. Given that recent studies show that the UK and other new variants are being transmitted within the population, we should all understand that our current situation could get very dire if efforts are not made, both on the part of Government and by you, the citizenry, to help contain the virus.
The analysis continues to tell us that the spread of the virus mostly occurs in indoor, confined spaces with poor ventilation, where people are talking, singing, or shouting without their masks.
The imposition of restrictions on our daily routines helped in reducing the prevalence of the pandemic in the country, and Government has been left with no option but to re-introduce some of these restrictions in order to help save the situation.
I know these measures, in the recent past, were unpleasant, but, over a period, they resulted in a favourable situation for our country. We have to return to them.
So, fellow Ghanaians,until further notice, funerals, weddings, concerts, theatrical performances, and parties are banned. Private burials, with no more than twenty-five (25) people, can take place, with the enforcement of the social distancing, hygiene and mask wearing protocols.
Beaches, night clubs, cinemas, and pubs continue to be shut. Our borders by land and sea remain closed.
All workplaces, public and private, must employ a shift-system for workers, in addition to the use of virtual platforms for business or work. Conferences and workshopscan take place with all the appropriate protocols. However, I encourage the use of virtual platforms for such engagements.
Restaurants should provide take-away services, and should, as much as possible, avoid seated services. The National Sports Authority and the Ghana Football Association should ensure compliance with the twenty-five percent (25%) capacity rule in our stadia, with spectators respecting the social distancing rule and wearing of masks.
To the revered leaders of our religious organisations, i.e. our churches and mosques, I entreat you to enforce, to the letter, 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.
I note that, since the re-opening of our schools, two weeks ago, we have witnessed only few reports of cases amongst students. I appeal to school authorities and teachers to enforce the guidelines provided by the Ghana Education Service, and I urge the Ghana Health Service to continue their surveillance at the schools, so we can contain any reported cases.
As we step up public education and enforcement of the protocols on public gatherings, let me also state that regulatory agencies will undertake random checks to ensure conformity with these rules, and the security services will be tasked to enforce them.
You do not have to be arrested by the Police before you wear your mask, your workplace should not be closed for non-conformitywith the protocols, if there is no urgent reason for you to be outside, please stay at home.
Each one of us can help to contain the spread 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. These measures must be respected by all.
I urge you, my fellow Ghanaians, to continue to pay attention to your health, improve your fitness levels, and eat our local foods that boost your immunity. Should you at any point feel unwell, or exhibit the most common symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, dry cough, tiredness, please report to the nearest health facility and get tested.