Easing of COVID-19 restrictions take effect …Pres emphasises vaccination, hand washing

The government has eased the protocols introduced at the height of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to restrict the movement of people and social gatherings.

Consequently, the wearing of face masks is no longer mandatory. Religious, sporting and other activities such as conferences, parties, cinemas, and theaters can also take place in full capacity.

The country’s land borders have been opened for the first time in two years, with restrictions at the Kotoka International Airport partially relaxed.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in a televised address to the nation on Sunday evening, announced that the review was due to the low coronavirus infection rates currently being recorded.

“This review is premised on the background of rapidly declining infections, the relative success of the vaccination campaign being supervised by the Ghana Health Service, and the increased capacity developed in the public and private health sectors over the last two years”. 

“Indeed, as at Friday, March 25, 2022, the total number of active cases stood at 72. There are no severely or critically ill persons. Our COVID-19 treatment centres are empty, and the 4th wave appears to be over”.

“In addition to these very low reported cases is the considerable improvement in the availability and uptake of vaccines by the population,” he said. 

President Akufo-Addo however stressed the need for regular hand washing and hand sanitising and urged facility managers to make provision for the public to observe hygiene practices.

He announced further that the government would engage religious and traditional leaders, agencies and institutions to encourage their congregants, subjects and citizens to be vaccinated.

On air travel through the Kotoka International Airport, he said fully vaccinated travellers into Ghana would not take the PCR test from the country of embarkation to allow them entry into the country.

Neither would they be tested on arrival, he added.

“Citizens of foreign residents in Ghana who are not fully vaccinated would, however, need to provide a negative PCR test results of not more than 48 hours, will undergo an antigen test upon arrival at KIA, and will be offered vaccination,”

“Ghana’s Foreign Missions have been instructed to make vaccination a requirement for visa acquisition,” he said.

President AKufo-Addo further indicated that foreign residents in Ghana and Ghanaian citizens who were unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated would be given waivers by the Ghana Health Service to allow them entry into the country through the KIA.

However, he said they would be required to have a 72-hour negative PCR test result prior to embarkation, take an antigen test on arrival and offered vaccination.

“It is worth noting that the establishment of the COVID-19 testing infrastructure at KIA by Frontier Healthcare Services Ltd, at its own cost, has been key to our ability to limit successfully the importation of the virus into Ghana through the airport”.

“The efficacy of the testing regime at KIA has won global admiration, and has been applauded by all those who have undergone its testing,” he said.

BY YAW KYEI

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