Government has closed the country’s borders to human traffic for the next two weeks, as Ghana records its first coronavirus (COVID-19) casualty last weekend.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced this in a televised address to the nation on Saturday night as part of the new measures to curtail the spread of the virus.
The number of cases recorded in Ghana has increased from two to 21 in the last 10 days, a situation that has led to the imposition of strict measures to prevent the importation of the virus, contain its spread, and provide adequate care for victims.
President Akufo-Addo said the closure of the country’s land, sea and air borders, which took effect last midnight, did not apply to goods, supplies and cargo.
However, all those who came into the country from the time the border closure was announced to the time it was implemented were mandatorily quarantined and tested for the virus.
The President said the government had ordered 15,000 test kits to enable the health workers to begin mass testing of all persons who had been identified as having come into contact with infected persons.
“More personal protection equipment is being procured to beef up supplies for our frontline health workers,” he said.
The President noted that the Ministry of Health was mobilising new and retired healthcare professionals to augment the country’s preparedness in dealing with a possible surge in infections.
“It is heartening to hear of the numbers of retired healthcare professionals who have stepped forward to offer their services, just as it is to note the Ghanaian entrepreneurs who have responded to these crises by producing greater quantities of sanitisers and Veronica buckets,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo further announced that Wednesday March 25 would be set aside as a national day of prayer and fasting and appealed to all Christians and Muslims to observe the day and pray to God to protect the country from the pandemic.
He said although the country had recorded one death, the people infected with the disease were doing well, while eight of them were being managed from their homes in isolation.
He indicated that the cases of the localised infections required that people maintained strict self-discipline and continued to practise prescribed social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols in all aspects of their daily lives.
The President appealed to members of the pharmaceutical industry to scale up their domestic production of pharmaceutical products and expressed the government’s commitment to give them the necessary support.
He commended the people who had been in the forefront of the fight against the virus, including the health workers, immigration officials, customs officials, civil aviation officials, airport staff, port health officials, police, military personnel, and other essential service providers.
“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,” he said.
BY YAW KYEI