President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has temporarily suspended all foreign travels for public officials, as part of measures taken by government to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) in the country.
In a circular issued by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, and addressed to all sector Ministers and their deputies, Regional Ministers and deputies, Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives, and all Heads of Government Agencies, the Chief of Staff stressed that only essential and critical foreign travels will be considered and, thereafter, approved.
“The directive, together with other measures being put in place by government, is intended to protect the general public from contracting the virus. Please take note and ensure compliance,” the statement said.
It will be recalled that, at the 63rd Independence Day celebration, in Kumasi, President Akufo-Addo admonished Ghanaians to stop shaking hands completely and cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Describing the disease as a medical crisis that is bringing in its wake deaths and economic difficulties, and is spreading fear and panic throughout the world, the President revealed that in the early days of the outbreak, he constituted a high-powered emergency response team to handle the crisis.
The team, he said, had been monitoring developments and reporting to him on a daily basis.
He stated that strict checks at Ghana’s entry points are being conducted, with rigorous screening procedures.
“Isolation and treatment centres have been designated for potential cases, and a quarantine centre has been set up. Five thousand personal protective equipment (PPEs) for health workers have been procured and distributed to all regions and major health facilities, points of entry, teaching hospitals, treatment centres and selected health facilities,” he said.
Furthermore, the President told the gathering that additional protective health equipment is being procured, together with the ongoing training of health workers in the treatment of the disease.
“In the interim, non-essential travel into Ghana is being strongly discouraged from high risk countries, namely, China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea. We are counting on the experts to do their part to safeguard us, but we all have a responsibility to take measures to help ourselves and each other,” he said.
In advising Ghanaians, he stated that “the recommendations are for each one of us to practise basic, personal hygiene, and be extra careful with sanitation. For the time being, as the Ministry of Health has advised, we have to revisit our custom of shaking hands, and stop doing so completely, and we must cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze.”
In appreciating the active collaboration being offered by the global health authority, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and friends of Ghana, President Akufo-Addo assured that “government, on its part, is determined to do whatever is necessary, including providing the requisite resources, to ensure the safety of the population.”
Cases of COVID-19 have so far been confirmed in more than 80 countries across the globe. In the African region, the following countries have recorded cases; Egypt – 55, Algeria – 20, South Africa – seven, Tunisia – five, Senegal – four, Morocco – two, Cameroon – two, Burkina Faso – two, Nigeria – two, Togo – one and DR Congo – one.
BY TIMES REPORTER