President Nana Akufo-Addo has announced that the Ministry of Health is engaging the services of retired and new health professionals to augment that of its current staff as the country braces itself for a possible surge in the number of Coronavirus infections.
Ghana as at 21:30 hours today [March 21, 2020] has confirmed 21 cases of COVID-19.
In an address to the nation, President Akufo-Addo was amazed by the response of the retired health professionals to the call.
“The Ministry of Health is mobilizing new and retired health care professionals to augment our preparedness in dealing with the possible surge in infections. It is heartening to hear the number of healthcare professionals who have stepped forward to offer their services.”
The President also indicated that as part of measures to check the internal spread of the virus, contact tracing has been intensified as every person who has come into contact with infected persons will be tested and the necessary steps taken.
“The Ministry of Health will not only step up its contact tracing efforts but will also see to it that all persons who have been identified as having come into contact with infected persons are tested for the virus. More personal protection equipment are being acquired to beef up supplies for our frontline health workers. 50,000 additional test kits have been ordered and are being expected in the country shortly,” add the President.
Ghana to close all borders from Sunday
President Akufo Addo added that the borders of the country are to be closed from midnight on Sunday, March 22 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The border closure is to last for two weeks, according to the President.
“All our borders; by land, sea and air, will be closed to human traffic for the next two weeks beginning midnight on Sunday,” he said in the address to the nation.
Coronavirus patient dies in Kumasi
The Lebanese patient among those confirmed to have contracted the novel coronavirus in Ghana has died.
The deceased, a 61-year-old man, reported to a health facility in Kumasi with a fever and cough.
His temperature was 39.4 degrees Celcius.
It is not clear whether his death was a direct result of the virus.
A Deputy Minister of Health, Alexander Abban, told Citi News that “the information I got from the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service is that that person [the Lebanese man] has died. He died today.”
There have been 15 new cases of the novel coronavirus infection this past week raising Ghana’s total to 21.
Find below the full statement by the President
Fellow Ghanaians, good evening. This is the third time in the last ten (10) days that I have come into your homes to give you an update on the progress of our fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. I am going to be providing you regular updates.
On Sunday, 15th March, I briefed you about the enhanced measures taken by Government to deal with the virus, which has, so far, infected nineteen persons (19) in the country. Unfortunately, one (1) person, who tested positive for the virus, but had serious underlying health complications, passed away in the early hours of today. I am reliably informed that all the other eighteen (18) persons are doing well, and are responding to treatment. Indeed, eight (8) of them are being managed from their homes, in isolation.
I am deeply humbled by the widespread nature of the support from you, the Ghanaian people, for the measures I have taken so far. Let me also commend both sides of Parliament for the expeditious and responsible manner in which they handled the passage of the Imposition of Restrictions Act, to which I have given assent.
This morning, I chaired the daily Inter-Ministerial Committee Meeting on our Coronavirus Response to review the current position. I am encouraged by the numbers of Ghanaians that are observing the prescribed social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols announced earlier. However, it has become necessary to take additional measures to stem the spread of the virus, and protect the lives of our people. We must do everything within our power to contain the spread of the virus.
Firstly, all our borders, that is by land, sea and air, will be closed to human traffic for the next two weeks, beginning midnight on Sunday. Anybody who comes into the country, before midnight on Sunday, will be mandatorily quarantined and tested for the virus. This closure will not apply to goods, supplies and cargo.
Secondly, the Ministry of Health will not only step up its contact tracing efforts, but will also see to it that all persons who have been identified as having come into contact with infected persons are tested for the virus. More personal protection equipment are being procured to beef up supplies for our frontline health workers. Fifty thousand additional test kits have been ordered, and are expected in the country very shortly.
Thirdly, the Ministry of Health is mobilising new and retired healthcare professionals to augment our preparedness in dealing with a possible surge in infections. It is heartening to hear of the numbers of retired healthcare professionals who have stepped forward to offer their services, just as it is to note the Ghanaian entrepreneurs who have responded to this crisis by producing greater quantities of sanitisers and ‘Veronica buckets’. Let me reiterate my appeal to members of the pharmaceutical industry to scale up their domestic production of pharmaceutical products. Government will do its best to support them.
As I have stated before, there will be a constant review of the measures announced, and, if necessary, enhanced.
Fellow Ghanaians, the cases of localised infections require that we maintain strict self-discipline, and continue to practice prescribed social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols in all aspects of our daily lives. We must wash our hands regularly, use alcohol-based sanitisers, stop shaking hands, and avoid unnecessary close body contact. I am pleading with each and every one of you, comply with these measures. Our survival is in our own hands.
Whilst we continue to adhere to these measures, and ramp up our efforts to defeat this virus, I urge all of us, also, to seek the face of the Almighty. So, on Wednesday, 25th March, 2020, I appeal to all Ghanaians, Christians and Muslims, to observe a national day of fasting and prayer. Let us pray to God to protect our nation and save us from this pandemic. I thank the men and women of God who prayed for the nation with me on Thursday, and with the Vice President on Friday, for their intervention.
I applaud the efforts and courage of Ghanaians in the forefront of the fight against the virus – health workers, immigration officials, customs officials, civil aviation officials, airport staff, port health officials, police and military personnel, and other essential service providers – for the yeoman’s work you are doing. Our nation is deeply in your debt.
Fellow Ghanaians, all that Government is doing is intended to achieve five (5) key objectives – limit and stop the importation of the virus; contain its spread; provide adequate care for the sick; limit the impact of the virus on social and economic life; and inspire the expansion of our domestic capability and deepen our self-reliance.
There are obvious difficulties ahead of us, and we should all brace ourselves to face them. I will be transparent with you, and not shirk from sharing with you the realities of our situation. But, I am determined to take whatever steps are necessary to safeguard our society, our economy and our future. I remain confident that together, and by the Grace of God, we shall overcome. This, too, will pass.
May God bless us all, and our homeland Ghana, and make us great and strong.
Have a good night, and I thank you for your attention.