The president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, addressed the nation for the 22nd time on Sunday on the measures his government has taken against the spread of COVID-19.
Stating among other things his disappointment and worry at the rising numbers of cases in the country, he has sent the strongest indication yet of a possible re-lockdown in the country.
He stressed the need for the safety protocols to be adhered to always, especially as schools welcome their students back today after some 10 months of no in-person academic work.
Already, some parents have raised scepticism about the directive, albeit being relieved that eventually, their children are returning to the classrooms, while calling for authorities to ensure that all is done to safeguard the children and help prevent the spread of the deadly pandemic.
Here are some key points from the president’s address:
The President noted how the country’s recorded cases of Coronavirus have double jumped from the previous 900 cases to 1,924, with an average record of 200 daily cases. Per the breakdown, critical cases have moved from 0 two weeks ago to 33, while the number of severe cases which stood at 18 a week ago is now 120. He also noted how figures for severely ill persons as according to the Ghana Health Service are also rising and the number of deaths has shot up from 338 to 352.
New variants of the virus detected:
As discovered by scientists in the country, new variants have been detected among arriving passengers at the Kotoka International Airport. This was also announced by the President during his 22nd address. He, however, indicated that these persons are in isolation pending treatment.
Social gatherings major cause of spread:
President Akufo-Addo also noted that most infected persons have recent histories of attending parties, weddings, end of year office programs, family get-togethers, and funerals, particularly with very little to no adherence to the laid down safety protocols, including the wearing of face masks.
Police to begin massive enforcement of mask-wearing, closure of illegally operating institutions:
The Inspector-General of Police has been ordered by the President to ensure his men ensure strict enforcement of Covid-protocols at all public places and in public transport. Also, illegally operating clubs, cinemas, and beaches will be, per the President’s orders, shut down.
Random checks will also be organized in public places including work institutions and markets to ensure compliance. Mr. Akufo-Addo was also sure to emphasize that persons caught will be arrested by the security agencies disregarding this directive, and that person will be dealt with strictly in accordance with law.
Warning of possible lockdown:
The President has also warned that a partial lockdown would be re-imposed if citizens fail to comply and there is an eventual rise in cases that call for these restrictions.
“Should the number of active cases continue to increase at the current rate, I will have no option but to re-impose these restrictions because it is better to be safe than to be sorry. So, together, let us all ensure that we respect the protocols," he said.
Enhanced tracing and treatment intensified:
The government is intensifying its strategy of enhanced 3Ts, i.e. tracing, testing, and treating, to allow us to identify infected persons, isolate them, and treat them.
This was noted in the President’s speech. He also indicated that a considerable number of contact tracers are being mobilised to follow up on contacts of all who test positive. All laboratories, public and private, must supply, in real-time, data on all persons tested on the common platform established by the Ghana Health Service. There will be sanctions against laboratories that fail to comply. Facilities are also being prepared for
Rapid response teams, PPEs ready for KG, primary, and JHS schools:
President Akufo-Addo also reiterated that the government has put in place all necessary measures as kindergartens, primary, and JHS resume school and is impressed about preparations by private schools.
He also indicated that all schools have been paired with health facilities in case they record positive cases.
Rapid Response Teams are also being organized in the face of any eventualities as schools re-open. Adequate PPEs have also been provided.