President Akufo-Addo has suspended temporarily foreign travels for all public officials.
According to the government, this constitutes measures it has taken to prevent the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
In a statement issued by the Chief of Staff at the Office of the President, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, and addressed to all sector Ministers and their deputies, Regional Ministers and their deputies, all Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives, and all Heads of Government Agencies, the Chief of Staff stressed that only essential and critical foreign travels will be considered and, thereafter, approved.
“The directive, together with other measures being put in place by Government, is intended to protect the general public from contracting the virus. Please take note and ensure compliance,”the statement added.
However, it will be recalled that, at the 63rd Independence Day Celebration, in Kumasi, on 6th March, 2020, President Akufo-Addo urged Ghanaians to stop shaking hands completely and cover their mouths when their cough and sneeze to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus disease.
Describing the disease as a medical crisis that is bringing in its wake deaths and economic difficulties, and is spreading fear and panic throughout the world, President Akufo-Addo revealed that in the early days of the outbreak, he constituted, on 7th February, a high-powered emergency response team to handle the crisis.
The Team, he said, has been monitoring developments and reporting to him on a daily basis.
He stated that strict checks at Ghana’s entry points are being conducted, with rigorous screening procedures.
“Isolation and treatment centres have been designated for potential cases, and a quarantine centre has been set up. Five thousand (5,000) personal protective equipments for health workers have been procured and distributed to all regions and major health facilities, points of entry, teaching hospitals, treatment centres and selected health facilities,” he said.
Furthermore, the President stated that additional protective health equipment is being procured, together with the ongoing training of health workers in the treatment of the disease.
“In the interim, non-essential travel into Ghana is being strongly discouraged from high-risk countries, namely, China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea. We are counting on the experts to do their part to safeguard us, but we all have a responsibility to take measures to help ourselves and each other,” he said.
In advising Ghanaians, he stated that “the recommendations are for each one of us to practice basic, personal hygiene, and be extra careful with sanitation. For the time being, as the Ministry of Health has advised, we have to revisit our custom of shaking hands and stop doing so completely, and we must cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze.”