The COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the government a couple of months ago to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country has been eased further to allow public transport and domestic airlines to take passengers at full capacity.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced this in a televised address to the nation last night and added that it is mandatory for the public to wear face masks and maintain enhanced hygiene protocols when in trotro, taxi, or domestic airplanes.
He said the decision forms part of the second phase of plans to ease restrictions to enable Ghanaians to go about their normal social and economic lives without limitations.
On private burials, he said the maximum restriction of 100 persons will continue to be enforced till further notice.
President AKufo-Addo said the second phase of the lifting of the restrictions also includes the reopening of the country’s tourist sites and attractions, and open air drinking spots to visitors.
“The management of these facilities are tasked to enforce enhanced hygiene and social distancing protocols. Beaches, pubs, cinemas and nightclubs, however, remain closed until further notice,” he said.
The President expressed appreciation to the country’s religious leaders for their strict adherence to the safety protocols which have prevented any known outbreaks, since they restarted their services about seven weeks ago.
“I am, therefore, very happy to announce that, in consultation with our Church leaders, from 1st August, 2020, the restrictions on the number of congregants worshipping at a time in Church will be lifted, with the length of worship extended from one to two hours per service”.
“Church leaders, who are desirous of implementing this enhanced easing directive, must ensure that congregants wear face masks at all times, and the one metre social distancing rule is scrupulously applied”.
“These same guidelines apply to worship in our Mosques. With greater numbers of congregants likely to return for worship, I would, respectfully, ask the religious leaders to pay even greater attention to the fresh air ventilation of their premises, rather than relying on the use of air conditioners,” he said.
President AKufo-Addo said the female Under-20 and Under-17 national football teams have been given the clearance to go into their respective training camps to begin preparations towards their FIFA and CAF-sanctioned international matches, which begin in September.
Whilst in training, he said the playing, technical and management teams must observe strictly all the protocols issued by government, CAF and FIFA against COVID-19.
All other team and contact sports, and competitive sporting events remain suspended till further notice, he added.
The President further announced that the country’s borders by air, land and sea, remain closed to human traffic till further notice.
Given that there are Ghana residents stranded abroad, he said special dispensation will continue to be given for the evacuation of Ghanaians back to the country, where they will be subjected to the mandatory quarantine and safety protocols.
“As I have said before, the phased opening up of our country puts an individual obligation and responsibility on each one of us, and means that we must continue to remain vigilant, and respect the enhanced hygiene, mask wearing and social distancing protocols that have become part and parcel of our daily routine. We dare not ruin the successes we have chalked over this period”.
“There will always be those who will peddle untruths, and embark on deliberate misinformation campaigns, especially in this era of fake news. In their irresponsible bid to score cheap points, they escalate mistrust and heighten, unnecessarily, the anxiety levels over the disease in the country”.
“As we work towards defeating this virus, we should reject completely those who seek to perpetuate falsehood, thereby, creating fear and panic, and call them out when they do. Truth will always, in the end, triumph over lies,” he said.
BY YAW KYEI