The President who made his 10th national televised address on measures to contain COVID-19 commended Ghanaians for their patience and commitment over the past weeks.
In a brief situational update of the cases count and management, he said as at Sunday, May 31, 2020, the country had conducted a cumulative of 218,425 tests, hence the number of positive cases currently stood at 8,070, with 2,947 recoveries and 36 deaths.
He also said there were currently 13 persons who were severely ill, with three others being critically-ill, and one person on a ventilator, while a total of 5,087 other persons were also responding to treatment at home, isolation centres and in hospitals.
President Akufo-Addo stated that “our hospitalization and death rates have been persistently very low, some of the lowest in Africa and in the world,” saying Ghanaians were not dying of the virus in the hundreds and thousands that were earlier anticipated, and that which were being seen on a daily basis in some other countries.
“Indeed, we are witnessing a much milder manifestation of the virus in the country, than was initially feared,” he said.
The President attributed these successes to the country’s ability to trace, test and treat persons with the virus, which had improved considerably over the period, with the large army of effective contact tracers.
He said the number of testing facilities has also been expanded from two to 10 across the country, with a further appreciable increase in the number of quarantine, isolation and treatment centres.
Ghana, he said, had also reduced its dependence on imports, and scaled up significantly domestic production and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to local health workers.
This was evidenced in the production of 4,440,690 gloves, 3,524,205 nose masks, 62,194 goggles, 109,829 litres of hand sanitizers, 85,995 headcovers, 82,655 gowns, 53,517 medical scrubs and 43,633 N-95 face masks, he said.
Furthermore, the country has learnt lessons from this pandemic, with the most obvious being that it had to fortify urgently its public health system, and had committed to the implementation of the ‘Agenda 88’, which involved building within a year, fully-equipped, functional hospitals for districts that did not have one, and also similar facilities for the newly created regions, the President stated.
He said the Western Region would benefit from one of such facilities and that the Effia Nkwanta Hospital at Sekondi would also be rehabilitated, while government would empower and increase the number of healthcare professionals across the board, to ensure that Universal Health Coverage became a reality for Ghanaians, not a slogan.
President Akufo-Addo said all that had been achieved so far would not have been possible without the strong co-operation of all Ghanaians.
He acknowledged that the impact of the various restrictive measures employed by the government, to defeat the virus, had been devastating on both social, religious, cultural and economic lives, including jobs, and the education of children.
He, however, said the country cannot live with these restrictions forever, and that it was imperative to find a safe way to return lives to normalcy, as other nations across the globe are trying to do.
The President, therefore emphasized the need to step up public education of the protocols on public gatherings, saying regulatory agencies would undertake random checks to ensure conformity with these rules.
He tasked all Ghanaians to remain vigilant and respect the enhanced hygiene and social distancing protocols that had been part and parcel of their daily routine over the past three months, saying “we cannot afford to let our guards down, and ruin the successes we have chalked over this period”.
He noted that with the possibility of a potential surge in infections due to the ease in the restrictions, existing national, regional and district response teams had been strengthened, with the support of the security forces, to deal with any eventuality.