President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has asked traders at market centres, commercial transport operators and public sector workers to conduct their activities with strict adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols.
“The wearing of masks in these places is mandatory. Regulatory agencies will undertake random checks to ensure conformity with COVID-19 rules. Should any facility or institution fail to comply with these directives, its activities will be immediately prohibited, and appropriate sanctions applied, ” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said this in his 22nd update on measures taken against the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.
He said severe punishments existed for persons who broke the law on the mandatory wearing of masks, saying, ” Should anyone be arrested by the security agencies disregarding this directive, that person will be dealt with strictly in accordance with law.”
The President has, therefore, directed the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mr James Oppong-Boanuh, to ensure the rigorous enforcement of the law on mask wearing at all public places and in public transport.
He asked the Police, with support from other security agencies to close all night clubs, pubs, cinemas and beaches operating in defiance of the law.
President Akufo-Addo stated the commitment of government to ensuring the safety of the citizenry and called for responsible lifestyles.
He said government had fumigated schools and provided personal protective equipment to pupils and students to ensure their safety in school.
The President said all Senior High Schools has also been mapped with health facilities for eventualities and called for support from all.
He asked pupils and students to put their “frustrations” behind and be self-disciplined with strict adherence to the safety protocols.
President Akufo-Addo said though Ghana would not want to go back to the days of partial lockdowns, which had negative impacts on the economy and culture of citizens, he would have no option but to re-impose lockdown restrictions if the number of active cases continued to increase at the current rate.
He said in the past two weeks, Ghana had recorded an upsurge in the number of active cases, from a little over 900 to 1,924.
“Our COVID-19 treatment centres have gone from having zero patients to now being full because of the upsurge in infections,” he said.
The President expressed worry that the country was recording averagely, 200 new cases of COVID infections daily, which had contributed to a rising number of patients requiring hospitalisation and intensive care.
” The number of severe cases, which stood at 18 a week ago, has increased sharply to 120, Two weeks ago, there was no critical case, we now have 33 in our treatment facilities,” he lamented.
President Akufo-Addo said available statistics to the Ghana Health Service indicated that a considerable number of persons who were severely ill were, surprisingly, relatively youthful persons, with no previous underlying health conditions.
He said the number of confirmed COVID-19 death had increased from 338 persons to 352 within a period of two weeks.
The President said a recent genomic sequencing undertaken by scientists had detected that some passengers who arrived in Ghana tested positive for the new variants of COVID-19.
He said the passengers had all been isolated and that work was still ongoing to determine the presence and extent of spread of the new variants in the general population.
Coronaviruses are said to be a large group of viruses that are common among animals.
In rare cases, they are what scientists call zoonotic, meaning, they can be transmitted from animals to humans, according to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
They are said to be the cause of dangerous diseases with incubation period between 4-6 days.
Signs and symptoms are: fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat, and possibly a headache.