Our survival is in our hands: President urges Ghanaians to adhere to COVID-19 safety measures Featured

By Nana Yaw Dwamena March 23, 2020 1756 775 comments

All of Ghana’s borders – land, sea and air – have been closed to all forms of human traffic for the next two weeks, effective from midnight Sunday into Monday.

The directive was given by President Akufo-Addo when he addressed the nation on Saturday night, in his third update on the coronavirus situation in the country and the enhanced measures being taken to contain the spread of the disease.

Even before the directive, the President had directed that “anybody who comes into the country, before midnight on Sunday, will be mandatorily quarantined and tested for the virus”.

The directive, however, does not apply to goods, supplies and cargo.

Meanwhile, President Akufo-Addo has declared the coming Wednesday as a National Day of Fasting and Prayer, and accordingly called on all Ghanaians, especially Muslims and Christians, to observe the day as such.

We shall overcome

The President has also given Ghanaians his firm assurance that he will be transparent, and not shirk from sharing with them the realities of Ghana’s situation in the fight against the coronavirus.

“There are obvious difficulties ahead of us, and we should all brace ourselves to face them. I will be transparent with you, and not shirk from sharing with you the realities of our situation. But I am determined to take whatever steps are necessary to safeguard our society, our economy and our future,” the President said.

He declared he has the utmost confidence that “together, and by the Grace of God, we shall overcome. This, too, will pass.”

One death

With Ghana’s cases of coronavirus disease standing at 19 as at the time of the President’s address, he disclosed that out of this number, one person who had tested positive for the virus and was facing severe underlying health complications had passed away in the early hours of Saturday.

The other patients, President Akufo-Addo added, were doing well and responding to treatment in isolation, with eight of them being managed from their homes.

The number of infection cases in Ghana, at the time of going to press yesterday, was 21.

Additional measures

Having chaired the daily inter-ministerial committee meeting on Ghana’s coronavirus response earlier, the President said he was encouraged by the manner in which many Ghanaians were observing the prescribed social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols.

“However, it has become necessary to take additional measures to stem the spread of the virus and protect the lives of our people. We must do everything within our power to contain the spread of the virus,” he said.

Apart from the closure of borders, President Akufo-Addo said the Ministry of Health will not only step up its efforts to complete contact tracing, but will effectively ensure that all people believed to have come into contact with infected individuals are tested for the virus.

In addition, he said, more protection equipment is being procured to beef up supplies for Ghana’s frontline health workers, with 50,000 additional test kits ordered and expected in the country soon.

“Thirdly, the Ministry of Health is mobilising new and retired health-care professionals to augment our preparedness in dealing with a possible surge in infections. It is heartening to hear of the numbers of retired health-care professionals who have stepped forward to offer their services, just as it is to note the Ghanaian entrepreneurs who have responded to this crisis by producing greater quantities of sanitisers and ‘Veronica buckets’.

“Let me reiterate my appeal to members of the pharmaceutical industry to scale up their domestic production of pharmaceutical products. The government will do its best to support them,” President Akufo-Addo said.

Key measures

Reiterating the need for Ghanaians to respect the prescribed precautionary measures, the President stressed how urgent it is that people to wash their hands frequently, use hand sanitisers, and avoid shaking hands or unnecessary body contact.

“I am pleading with each and every one of you: comply with these measures. Our survival is in our own hands,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo said the government intends to achieve five key objectives: limit and stop importation of the virus; contain its spread; provide adequate care for the sick; limit the impact of the virus on social and economic life; inspire the expansion of our domestic capability and deepen self-reliance.

Broad support

President Akufo-Addo said he was happy with the efforts and courage displayed by Ghanaians in the fight against the pandemic. He particularly praised the exceptional efforts put into the fight by health workers, immigration officials, customs officials, civil aviation officials, airport staff, port health officials, police and military personnel, and other essential service providers.

“I am deeply humbled by the widespread nature of the support from you, the Ghanaian people, for the measures I have taken so far,” he said. “Let me also commend both sides of Parliament for the expeditious and responsible manner in which they handled the passage of the Imposition of Restrictions Act, to which I have given assent.”

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Last modified on Tuesday, 24 March 2020 17:33

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