President Akufo-Addo has pressed Ghanaians to respect COVID-19 protocols before the country witnessed exponential growth in the number of new infections of the disease.
In a nationally televised address Sunday to keep the country abreast of the coronavirus situation and measures being employed by the Government to mitigate the situation, he said Ghanaians needed to “remain steadfast in our adherence to the protocols, so we can overcome this third-wave of infections.”
The President, who last addressed the nation on the matter some ten weeks ago, said the country, per data from the Ghana Health Service, was experiencing a third wave of COVID-19 infection driven by the Delta Variant, which had led to, in recent weeks, a rise in hospitalisation and Intensive Care Unit bed uptakes and deaths.
As of Saturday, July 22, 2021, the total number of active cases stood at 4,094. Some 101,170 persons have since March 2020 been infected with the virus, and 96,255 persons have recovered from the disease. The country has lost 823 persons since the onset of the pandemic, with 40 of those deaths over the last ten weeks.
Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi Metropolitan areas remain the hotspots of infections.
“This entire development is very alarming, especially as we are being told by officials of the Ghana Health Service, that the recovery rate is on the decline… it is obvious from the data that we have let our guard down, with many going about their daily duties in clear breach and disregard for the protocols,” said the President.
“At a time when the economy is on the rebound, and business activities are picking up, we must do everything possible to contain this outbreak. We cannot afford to return to the days of partial lockdowns, which brought considerable hardships and difficulties for all of us,” he stressed.
President Akufo-Addo bemoaned the low compliance to mask-wearing, saying the happening was extremely troubling and warned that henceforth, persons who flouted the directive on masking in public would face the full rigours of the law.
“The wearing of masks in public places, fellow Ghanaians, continues to be mandatory. There are no exceptions to this rule, and strict conformity with this protocol will be enforced. Anyone found to be flouting this directive will have him or herself to blame. We cannot afford to allow the recklessness of a few to endanger the lives of the majority of persons in the country.”
The President said the set COVID-19 protocols implemented since March 2020 had kept the country in good stead, “and we have no choice but to return to the strict implementation of some of them.”
Thus, until the entire adult population are vaccinated against the disease, there shall be strict observance of all safety protocols, especially places of worship, at funerals, market places, lorry stations, workplaces, as well as all other places likely to have people congregate.
The President stated that as part of enhanced measures to curb the spread of the disease, all events associated with funerals must be held in open-air spaces and should not go beyond two hours, with strict observance of the one-metre social distancing rule by sympathizers.
Henceforth, all post-event receptions are banned, and handshakes are to be avoided. Also, the enhanced hygiene protocol and wearing of masks are mandatory.
One-week funeral celebrations are restricted solely to family members, and should not exceed two hours, the President stressed and urged businesses, workplaces and their owners and management to implement strict staff management and workplace protocols to curb the spread of the COVID-19.
Reminding Ghanaians of the socio-economic impact of the pandemic, President Akufo-Addo said “we must remember that the virus continues to jeopardise our lives and livelihoods. Without a doubt, God has been gracious to us. Nonetheless, I ask this evening that we remain steadfast in our adherence to the protocols, so we can overcome this third wave of infections.”
“If we do so, we will soon be able to return to our normal way of life,” he said, adding, “Zero active cases must remain the overarching goal, and I have no doubt that, together, and with the help of God, this too shall pass, for the Battle is still the Lord’s.”