President Nana Akufo-Addo has disclosed that eight out of the 20 active cases of COVID-19 in Ghana are being managed from home.
There have been 15 new cases of the virus this past week, increasing Ghana’s total to 21, with one patient dead.
In the third national address held on Saturday night, President Akufo-Addo said that “I am reliably informed that all the other…persons are doing well, and are responding to treatment. Indeed, eight of them are being managed from their homes, in isolation.”
So far, Ghana has confirmed 21 coronavirus cases.
According to the Ghana Health Service website, as of Saturday, March 21, “Ghana records two new cases of COVID-19 with one death. This leaves the existing case count in the country to be 21.”
Prior to the new development, the website reported three new cases earlier on Saturday, pushing the figure to 19.
One of the patients said to have an underlying health problem however died in the Ashanti Region.
The deceased, a 61-year-old man, reported to a health facility in Kumasi with a fever and cough.
President announces mandatory quarantine of travellers entering Ghana
The government also began a mandatory quarantine of all travellers arriving in Ghana from March 21, 2020.
“Everyone who comes into the country before Sunday will be mandatorily quarantined and tested for the virus,” President Nana Akufo-Addo disclosed during the national address on Saturday evening.
The President also announced the closure of the country’s borders effective midnight on Sunday.
“All our borders; by land, sea and air, will be closed to human traffic for the next two weeks beginning midnight on Sunday,” he added in the address.
Gov’t making provisions for those who can’t self-quarantine – Health Minister
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, had earlier hinted that government was making arrangements to provide isolation centres for people suspected to have Coronavirus but may not be able to afford facilities to self-quarantine themselves for a mandatory 14-day period.
Speaking at a ceremony where officials of GCB bank donated GHS100,000 to the Ministry of Health to help combat the pandemic, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu said: “Let me advise that if you do not have some very essential things to do in town, stay at home. We are still getting some of our people coming from outside, they are our family people, they are Ghanaians, we can’t stop them from coming but when they come, please, we need to put them into quarantined places.”
“Even if it is your room let that person stay in one room, fed him for the 14 day period. Government is working so hard to bring in some other test kits to begin to see how we can manage with these things. Let us get them checked up before they integrate with us. Some people who can afford are renting empty places for their relatives who are coming back so that they can be quarantined This is what we call self-mandatory quarantine but the state is making provision to quarantine those of us who cannot afford to put ourselves into quarantine places,” the Minister added.
Below is the President’s full statement:
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.