As Ghana battles to curb the spread of COVID-19, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said the "tracing, testing and treatment regime" being pursued by the government would eventually reduce the number of cases.
In his 11th televised address to the nation, the president indicated that though there was public anxiety on the increasing case count, available data indicates that the country was managing the pandemic rather well.
He explained that the increase in numbers was as a result of the enhanced contact tracing and testing, which had in the past weeks brought to the fore the reality of the situation.
"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," Akufo-Addo told Ghanaians.
The President further stated that Ghana had carried out far more testing than any African country, and added that the enhanced policy of contact tracing being implemented by the government was more effective in the fight against COVID-19.
As of June 13, 2020, a total of 254, 331 tests have been carried out, with positive case counts of 11,964; there are a total of 4,258 recoveries; 7,652 active cases; 54 recorded deaths; and 13 persons severely ill out of which six are in critical condition, with three on ventilators.
Akufo-Addo emphasised that with the ratio of positive cases to total tests conducted standing at 4.7%, "our scrutiny, in effect, must be on the number of active cases, i.e. people who remain on our books as still positive."
The President indicated also that the country has a ratio of positivity to deaths of 0.4 per cent compared to that of Africa's average of 2.6 per cent and a global rate of 5.5 per cent. This, he said, shows that Ghana is performing well in managing the pandemic.
He declared: "I am relating all these figures not to engender any false, feel-good factor, but as statements of fact that must provide the context for us when we examine our figures...If indeed, we are to be guided by the data, then we must look at the data in all its ramifications, not just one particular aspect of them. That is the proper way to do justice to the data.
"I am, thus, in no way suggesting that we should let our guard down, and throw out of the window the efforts we have made in bringing us this far, where we have become a reference point for many in the handling of this pandemic."
The president then announced, "As we begin to ease the restrictions, we must be even more disciplined in our adherence to the personal hygiene and social distancing measures we have become accustomed to, we must keep fit, and we must continue to eat our local foods to boost our immune systems.
“This is how we can prevent our health care services and our heroic health care workers from being overwhelmed due to an increase in demand for hospital care.”
He informed the nation that the Government is monitoring the spread of the virus, and had established benchmarks of health outcomes "which define the mitigation measures that must be pursued to curb the spread of the disease, and enable us to reassess the easing of restrictions."
The President meanwhile reminded the nation, "Leaving our homes without a face mask or face covering on is an offence. The Police have been instructed to enforce this directive, which is the subject of an Executive Instrument.
He then charged the nation: "Let me repeat: our survival is in our own hands. If we are lax and inattentive, we will continue to have serious challenges with the virus. 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. Let us, together, rise to the occasion, and fulfil our common destiny. We can do it!"