President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Tuesday expressed worry about the surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide, saying the nation cannot afford another hit of the pandemic.
Thus, everyone in Ghana should adhere strictly to the set protocols on hygiene and social distancing, as well as other coronavirus restrictions, until the country attains a very appreciable level of COVID-19 vaccination.
In an address to mark this year’s Eid-ul Adha celebration, at the newly-commissioned Ghana National Mosque Complex at Kanda in Accra, President Akufo-Addo Akufo-Addo noted that the current numbers in infection and mortality rates of the disease were a realism that the country was heading for a full-blown third wave.
“From the rising numbers, it is safe to conclude that we have let our guards down, and we are beginning to live our lives and conduct our businesses as though we are in normal times.
“It is important to repeat that the virus is still with us, and until every one of us receives a double dose of the vaccine, the protocols must continue to be a part and parcel of our daily activities.
He stressed that even with the global shortage of vaccines, the Ministry of Health was ensuring that the target to innoculate the adult population of the country was achieved on schedule.
“Until that goal is achieved, I will continue to count on the support of the Ghanaian people to ensure our collective security,” he stated.
He stressed that government was determined and would ensure that 20 million Ghanaians were inoculated for the disease before year-end.
Whilst urging the Muslim community in Ghana to subdue all celebrations associated with the Islamic feast, he implored all to keep up their guard for the country not to erode the gains it made due to the measures taken by the government to contain the effect of the disease when it broke out early last year.
“As we continue to count on the grace of God to protect our country from the ravages of the pandemic, as we have done since its outbreak, we can only minimise its health effects and avoided a full-blown third wave, if we continue to be responsible and observe the hygiene protocols'” he said.
Ghana, he noted, was recovering from the scourge of the pandemic, and was faring better than most other country’s devastated by disease, and all must be done to preserve those gains, which had kept investors confident in the nation’s economy, with many more intending to pitch camp in Ghana.
Drawing on the lessons of the Eid-ul Adha, the President said the sacrifice of prophet Ibrahim which was being celebrated, “must spur us on to sacrifice for the progress and development of our society in our various areas of endeavour.”
“We must take matters of national. Interest paramount in anything we do,” he emphasised.
The President asked the Muslim community to use the period of devotion to “remember our nation” and pray for wisdom and guidance for the government “so that we can steer the ship of state in a manner that allows us to navigate the stormy and turbulent economic and other challenges that confront our nation and the world.”
He affirmed that he (President) was on the side of Ghana and would never act in any manner that would serve as a disadvantage for the Ghanaian people.
President Akufo-Addo spoke on the need for Ghanaians to maintain the peace and religious harmony existing in the country.
He urged all in the country, especially the religions, to be tolerant of each other, “so that we can create a free, conducive atmosphere for the development of our nation.”
The President pledged to support the development of Zongo communities.
He urged the youth in the Zongo communities to take advantage of the many empowerment initiatives and opportunities by the government to develop their talents and contribute to national development.
“We see Zongo communities as a place of great talent which can be harnessed for the development of the Zongo communities and the entire country.
“Zongo residents have a proud history of contributing to the development of our country, and I urge you to follow in the footsteps of your forebears,” he implored.
President also harped on the need for respect for free speech but called to order those who use incendiary language to stoke divisions in the country.
“We must all bear in mind that words can be as incendiary as guns. The Bible tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue,” urging Ghanaians to be mindful of their speech to preserve national unity and cohesion.
The Chief Imam, Sheikh Nuhu Sharubutu, in his sermon, called on Muslims across the country to live in harmony and peace to enhance national development.
He prayed to Allah to enable the Muslim community to sacrifice personal interests for the common good of society.
Eid-Ul-Adha is an important religious festival on the Islamic calendar during which Muslims pray and meditate in commemoration of “The Duty of Sacrifice” dating back to the era of Prophet Abraham.