President Nana Akufo-Addo has announced that the Ministry of Information will in the coming days provide Ghanaians with weekly updates on the state of the country’s preparedness regarding the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus also known as COVID-19.
He says other major updates will be provided should need be as a measure of safeguarding the country from a possible outbreak of the disease.
Addressing the nation on Wednesday, 11th March 2020, President Akufo-Addo indicated that the Ministry is also at the fore of a nationwide public sensitization to reduce the risk of the spread of the virus which has claimed over 4,500 lives around the world.
“The Ministry of Information is leading a nationwide public education campaign on preventive measures. But we must all observe and ensure that we are able to control the spread of the infection should we record any infection in the country which mercifully, so far we have not but which by the law of averages, we shall. But for the time being, a weekly update of the situation will be provided by the Ministry of Information. There will be more frequent updates when the need arises.”
During the address, President Akufo-Addo also said he has directed the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, to make available the cedi equivalent of US$100 million to enhance Ghana’s Coronavirus preparedness and response plan.
This amount, according to the President, “is to fund the expansion of infrastructure, purchase of materials and equipment, and public education”.
”It is important that Ghana steps up her preparedness to ensure that beyond the initial measures that have been put in place, a ‘whole of Ghana’ approach is adopted in preparation for a possible hit within the country’s borders,” Nana Addo said.
All three of Ghana’s direct neighbours have now reported cases of the deadly disease.
Eastern neighbour, Togo registered its first case of the virus on Friday, March 6, 2020, while a man and his wife have been confirmed as the first patients of coronavirus in Ghana’s northern neighbour, Burkina Faso.
Ivory Coast also recorded a case on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.
The other affected countries in Africa are Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, Senegal, Morocco, Cameroon, Nigeria, DR Congo and Tunisia.
In Africa, a total of 114 cases have been recorded as of Wednesday, March 11, 2020.
According to Nana Akufo-Addo, citizens must desist from foreign travels as much as possible as the novel coronavirus assumes pandemic status.
This advise comes after the President temporarily suspended foreign travels for all government officials as part of the government’s measures to prevent an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Ghana.
He said, “All of us as much as possible, [must] desist from all foreign travels, except the most critical ones, until there is a grip on the virus.”
Akufo-Addo urged officials to make use of technology during the travel ban.
“I have, as at yesterday, ordered a suspension of all international travels by public officials except for critical assignments, which will have to be authorized by the Chief of Staff at the Office of the President. All public officials are to remain within the jurisdiction, until further notice. Video conferencing facilities and other technological tools are to be utilized, whenever possible, for international engagements.”
The President had said non-essential travels to Ghana are being strongly discouraged from high-risk countries.