President Akufo-Addo has asked Ghanaians to adhere strictly to public health guidelines to stem a second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
He said the gradual change in the trajectory of the virus in recent weeks, with an average of 130 daily infections in the last two weeks, gave cause for concern in view of the fact that Europe and America were experiencing a second wave of infections.
Addressing the nation in a televised broadcast on Sunday to give an update on measures being adopted by government to curb the spread of the disease, the President attributed the surge in new infections to the reduction in compliance with the preventive protocols.
“I have seen at first-hand how, in some regions of our country, some residents are abandoning, altogether, the protocols, such as the wearing of masks, put in place to defeat the virus,” he stated.
Referencing a Ghana Health Service survey which revealed that the high compliance rate with mask-wearing across the country had fallen alarmingly from 44.3 percent to five percent, President Akufo-Addo said that that development was not acceptable, as the enhanced hygiene and mask-wearing protocols “must now be central features of our lives, and they must continue to remain so for some time to come until we see to the elimination of the virus from our country”.
“Fellow Ghanaians, it appears that we are letting our guard down. Now more than ever, we have to adhere to mask-wearing, hand-washing, the use of sanitizers, and social distancing protocols that have become a part of our daily routines, and which has ensured that we do not impose, all over again, the restrictions we are seeing in other parts of the world,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo emphasized that the Government would reaffirm the steps that had served us well so far” in order to help arrest the new threat of rising infections.
“We are enhancing the measures of tracing, testing and treatment. In addition to this, we will continue to limit the importation of the virus, embark on the strategic, controlled easing of public gatherings, enhance public education and information, and continue to provide relief and support to individuals, families and businesses,” he said.
To that end, the President has instructed the release of additional logistics, including vehicles, to the Ghana Health Service in order to help beef up contact tracing, and the supervision and monitoring of asymptomatic cases being managed from home.
He said government was also employing the use of technology to augment contact tracing efforts, as well as the supervision and monitoring of home care cases.
The President urged management of organisations operating in confined, indoor spaces, such as workplaces and supermarkets, to ensure the continued adherence to all COVID-19 protocols at all times.
He further encouraged political party leaders and supporters to observe the set protocols and wear the mask as electioneering activities intensified across the country with a month to the conduct of the December 7, 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.
“This task is not only for the leaders of our political parties. All of us, in the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary, public sector, security agencies, private sector, civil society, professional and trade associations, religious bodies, traditional authorities and ordinary citizens, must do what we can, in this period, to help minimize disease transmission.
“We have to maintain, in a state of constant readiness, the enhanced infrastructure and expertise we have built during the period of the virus to cope with it,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo warned persons who disregarded the COVID-19 hygiene and social distancing protocols that the law would deal with them accordingly.
“Sanctions exist in our laws for persons who want to continue to disregard these protocols, and for those who want to endanger the rest of the population through their actions and negligence. The law enforcement agencies will, where necessary, apply these measures without fear or favor.
“Fellow Ghanaians, I am appealing to all of you to be even more disciplined in your adherence to personal hygiene, mask-wearing and social distancing measures.”
“We cannot afford, at this critical moment, to throw caution to the wind, and destroy the incredible amount of work undertaken by Government, health officials, heroic frontline health workers, and members of the security agencies, in bringing us this far.”
“It is very clear that the more we adhere to the protocols, the quicker we defeat the virus,” he said.
Ghana has over the past three weeks recorded an increase in active coronavirus cases from 398 to 1139 cases. The total number of deaths is 320.