President Akufo-Addo’s 23rd gave an update on measures taken against COVID- 19 on Sunday 31st January. In the address, he re-introduced certain restrictive measures to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 infections and deaths.
Covid-19 Update- Ghana’s Present Situation
According to Akufo-Addo “as of Friday, 29th January, sixty-four (64) more people had sadly died over the last two weeks, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths to four hundred and sixteen (416).
“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,” Akufo Addo further said.
With these unprecedented numbers, Akufo-Addo introduced the following measures.
- Funerals, weddings, concerts, theatrical performances, and parties have been banned till further notice.
- “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 remain closed
- All workplaces, public and private, must employ a shift-system for employees and introduce the use of virtual platforms for business operations.
- “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.”
- Churches, mosques, and all other religious organizations are to enforce all 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.
- School authorities and teachers to enforce the guidelines provided by the Ghana Education Service
According to Akufo Addo, these steps are necessary as a result of;
- The new variant of the virus that is spreading across nations particularly in the United Kingdom (UK) and,
- The availability of research that reveals the spread of the virus mostly occurring indoor, confined spaces with poor ventilation, where people talk, sing, or shout without their masks.
Cost of COVID-19 tests
The President further stated that,
“COVID-19 tests are free for all Ghanaians at public health institutions.” According to him, the government will bear the cost of care at isolation and treatment centres, should a Ghanaian patient test positive.
On the other hand, “the cost of the COVID test for in-bound ECOWAS nationals is pegged at fifty United States dollars ($50) at the Kotoka International Airport” while “the cost of the test for non-ECOWAS nationals still remains one hundred and fifty ($150) dollars.”
With reference to Covid-19 vaccine procurement, he mentioned that a total of seventeen million, six hundred thousand (17.6 million) vaccines would be procured for Ghanaians by the end of June.
“Through bilateral and multilateral means, we are hopeful that, by the end of June, a total of seventeen million, six hundred thousand (17.6 million) vaccine doses would have been procured for the Ghanaian people. The earliest vaccine will be in the country by March,” said Akufo Addo.
Let us remember to follow all health and safety protocols to bring an end to this pandemic.