Government is pushing for improved hygienic conditions of public vehicles following news of four new confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ghana.
Six cases have so far been recorded. Four of the infected persons according to health officials have been in contact with about 151 people.
President Nana Akufo-Addo in an address to the country on Sunday, March 15, 2020, tasked the Ministry of Transport to collaborate with the various transport unions in the country as well as transport operators to ensure that passengers commute on vehicles that are in hygienic conditions.
The President also made a case for the provision of sanitary items including hand sanitizers, running water and soap at the various terminals to reduce the chances of spread of the virus.
“The Ministry of Transport should work with the transport unions and private and public transport operators to ensure enhanced hygienic conditions in all vehicles and terminals, by providing, amongst others, hand sanitizers, running water and soap for washing of hands,” he said as he announced new public gathering advisories in a televised broadcast.
Observing hygienic practices such as regular handwashing with soap under running water or the use of hand sanitizers are some of the major guidelines being promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and global leaders to stop the spread of the coronavirus which has infected more than 160,000 people across the world and killed over 6,000.
In Ghana, five of the six cases were recorded in Accra with one recorded in the Ashanti Region.
The government on Sunday announced that all the patients had been isolated and were receiving treatment.
All the cases were imported. There is yet to be any case of the virus being contracted from another person within the country but experts warn that not observing proper hygiene could lead to such a case.
Ban on public gathers
Meanwhile, the government has announced a ban on all public gatherings including conferences, workshops, funerals, festivals, political rallies, church activities and other related events as part efforts to stop the spread of the virus.
“I have decided in the interest of public safety and the protection of our population to review the public gathering advisories earlier announced as follows: Firstly, all public gatherings including conferences, workshops, funerals, festivals, political rallies, sporting events and religious activities, such as services in churches and mosques, have been suspended for the next four (4) weeks,” President Akufo-Addo said in a national address.
He said private burials are allowed but should just be for a few people.
The President also directed all universities and Senior High Schools and basic schools to shut down effective Monday, March 16, 2020.
Coronavirus cases in Ghana
As at noon on Sunday, March 15, 2020, six cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Ghana.
Director of Public Health at Ghana Health Service, Dr Badu Sarkodie who provided updates on the country’s cases on Sunday said all the cases were imported into the country.
The first two cases were confirmed on Thursday, March 12, 2020.
Two other cases were confirmed on Friday, March 13, 2020, while an additional two were confirmed on Saturday, March 14, 2020.
Five of the cases were confirmed in the Greater Accra Region while the remaining one was confirmed in the Ashanti Region.
Health officials have been working to trace persons who have come into contact with the patients and may be at risk of contracting the virus.
About Coronavirus (CODIV-19)
The coronavirus is a respiratory disease that appears to spread like the flu virus – person-to-person and through the air.
Virus-containing droplets from coughs or sneezes land in the mouth or nose of another person to cause the infection.
Others can also pick up the virus by touching an infected surface with their hands, and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
People with the virus may be able to spread it before symptoms appear but, in general, people are thought to be most contagious when they are the most symptomatic.
People have little or no immunity to the virus because it is new. This allows the virus to spread quickly from person to person.