Institutions, individuals take steps to restrict human movement to avoid contracting COVID-19

Some major institutions and individuals have moved to restrict human movement following the confirmation of six cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Schools, banks, health facilities and other international agencies have taken steps to reduce human contacts on their premises as part of measures to control the spread of the disease.

Aside the cancellation of a high level event to celebrate International Women’s Day by the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo last Friday, the Ghana International School (GIS) has closed down for the next two weeks as Ghana’s premier hospital, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) has limited visits to patients on admission to only two people.

Whilst a statement signed by the Communications Directorate from the First Lady’s Office said all further events by the First Lady had been cancelled entreating “all Ghanaians to take good care of themselves”, the GIS said, in consultation with its board of directors, the school will be closed till March 27, 2020.

“This early closure is in line with board policy on emergencies. All families have received detailed information regarding the closure and information regarding our virtual learning environment, we look forward to resuming school on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, after the Easter break,” a statement on its Facebook page said.

A statement issued by Mustapha Salifu, Head of Public Relations at KBTH, on the other hand, insisted that “in the case of the Department of Child Health, only parents/ guardians of the patient are permitted to visit.”

“This measure has become necessary because patients are already vulnerable and can easily be infected. We urge patients and their relatives to support the hospital in implementing this directive for the safety of all especially patients and caregivers.”

In the case of one of Ghana’s indigenous banks, Fidelity Bank, customers were advised to bear with measures to be put in place to safeguard customers and staff of the bank against the disease.

“Kindly bear with us as some of these changes may not be in line with our regular cultural and banking procedure. Together, let’s be safe,” it said in a statement issued to its customers last Friday.

Meanwhile, the Embassy of Norway has confirmed that one of its staff had tested positive to COVID-19 and the person is in quarantine as the Embassy maintains close contact with health authorities to manage the situation.

“All staff are also in quarantine and we are fully committed to assist with containment. The Embassy is thus closed to the public until further notice, but staff are operating from home,” the Consulate said in a social media post.

An internal memo by the UNDP also confirmed that its staff who had returned from Turkey and had tested positive to the virus was “in good hands and followed necessary protocols and is now under medical observation and receiving excellent care at an assigned government hospital.”

Ghana last Thursday confirmed two cases of COVID-19 involving a Ghanaian who returned from Turkey and a Norwegian top official, whilst four more confirmed cases were announced on Sunday, bring the total number of persons tested positive to the coronavirus in the country to six.

All patients are said to be in isolation and are stable, but processes have been initiated for contact tracing.

COVID-19 is a new form of coronaviruses that is associated with respiratory disorders and characterised by symptoms such as fever, sore throat, runny nose and breathing difficulties.

To prevent contracting the infection, members of the public are advised to adhere to precautionary measures including regular washing of hands with soap under running water and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers.

Avoid shaking of hands, keep distance of at least two meters from persons with signs of fever, cough, sneezing and difficulty in breathing, don’t touch face, eyes, mouth or nose with unwashed hands, be physically active, drink plenty of water, eat healthy, avoid stress and have enough sleep, health experts have advised.

In case of suspected cases members are to call the following numbers; 0509497700, 0558439868.

BY ABIGAIL ANNOH

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