President Nana Akufo-Addo on Sunday, June 14, 2020, addressed the nation on Ghana’s coronavirus situation and announced the measures his government has put in place to manage the rising cases in the country.
Ghanaweb sifted through the President’s 11th coronavirus update, which lasted for 30 minutes, and has come through with these salient points from his delivery.
1. Wearing of face/nose masks has now been made mandatory
The President has made failure to wear a face mask or face covering an offence punishable by law. “The Police have been instructed to enforce this directive, which is the subject of an Executive Instrument,” he announced.
2. Schools open for final year students as part of phase one of easing of restrictions on schools
The President has announced that final year tertiary students will resume school today, Monday, June 15, 2020. Also, final year Senior High School students will resume on June 22 and will be followed final year JHS students on June 29.
"From Monday, 15th June, the last batch of institutions in this phased approach, our educational institutions, will begin to re-open, with final-year students in our tertiary colleges and universities returning to school to prepare for and take their exit examinations.
"As has been stated, final year senior high school (SHS 3) students, together with SHS 2 Gold Track students, will resume on 22nd June; and final-year Junior High School (JHS 3) students, the week after, on 29th June."
He explained that the decision to include the schools in phase one of the easing of restrictions was taken advisedly.
3. Saving lives, jobs, and livelihoods, revitalising economy remain priorities in Ghana’s anti-COVID-19 approach
According to the President, Ghana’s coronavirus situation is unique and this fact has informed the country’s approach to fighting the disease, however, Ghana remains prepared to learn from the examples of others.
He adds that saving lives, jobs, and livelihoods, revitalising the economy, and safeguarding the future of the country have been at the heart of this endeavour.
“Over the last three months, every aspect of our national life has been affected by this virus. We have had to take deliberate steps to ensure that our society, in the face of the pandemic, is able to function, and continues to strive to deliver the results of progress, prosperity and development, for which we all yearn,” he said.
4. Increasing coronavirus case count is a function of enhanced testing
The President sought to allay fears that the increasing coronavirus case counts points to a gloomy future.
“We have to bear in mind, at all times, that the more people we test for the virus, the more people we are likely to discover as positive, and, thus, have the opportunity to isolate and treat them. If we do not test people for the virus, we will not find the persons who are positive, let alone isolate them from the population and treat them, and prevent them from spreading the virus,” he said.
He said the ratio of positive cases to the number of deaths from the virus in Ghana remains very low, at 0.4%, lower than the global average of 5.5% and Africa’s average of approximately 2%.
5. Ghana’s case count approaching 12,000
Latest update on Ghana’s coronavirus case count stands at 11, 964 with 54 deaths. The number of recovered patients stands at 4,258.
6. Ghana is being hailed across the world for how the pandemic is being managed
According to the President, Ghana is currently a reference point for many countries for good case management of the virus. So far, 254,331 individual tests have been conducted in the last three months, the highest COVID-19 tests to have been conducted on the African continent.
“Our positivity rate, i.e. the ratio of positive cases to total tests conducted, stands at 4.7%. In our hospitals and isolation centres, we currently have 13 persons severely ill, six persons critically ill, with three persons on ventilators,” he indicated.
7. Ghana’s Health Minister is indeed recovering from the virus
In a surprise announcement, the President confirmed that Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, had indeed contracted the virus and was recovering quite well at the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC).
Reports that the Minister had taken ill of the virus was shot down by some counter reports that blamed the media that carried the news of unprofessionalism.
The Minister had allegedly told a journalist who called to verify the reports that he was only resting at the health facility.
However, during the President’s address, he said: “Let us also wish our hardworking Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, MP for Dormaa Central, a speedy recovery from the virus, which he contracted in the line of duty and is in stable condition.”
8. Residents in coronavirus hotspots urged to be extra careful
Residents in Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western and Central regions, all coronavirus hotspots, have been urged to be particularly careful and adhere to the recommended protocols to halt the spread of the disease.
“It is important for me to remind residents of the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions, where the great majority of cases have been recorded, and in the Western and Central Regions, where we are seeing an increase in infection cases, to continue to adhere strictly to the social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols announced,” the President admonished.
9. “Our survival is in our own hands”
The President warned that if Ghanaians are lax and inattentive, the fight against the pandemic in Ghana will become daunting.
“If we are mindful and self-disciplined, we have it in us to defeat this pandemic and help return our lives to normalcy. I appeal to each and every one of you for your help in this regard. That is the surest way to realising our collective vision of building a new Ghanaian civilisation where the rule of law is not a slogan, but a directive principle of state development…” he said.
10. Brief tribute to the memory of MCE of Sekondi-Takoradi, K.K Sam
The President paid tribute to the memory of Mayor of Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis, the Chief Executive of the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly, Hon. K.K Sam.
He described him “as an old and valiant colleague in the struggle of the New Patriotic Party and in the work of the Akufo-Addo government.”
K.K Sam passed away on Friday, as a result of a COVID-related death.