The 27th Covid19 update by President Akufo-Addo
It’s been a while since I last addressed your homes to discuss a topic that has captivated not only our interest but the attention of every country on the planet.
However, as Christmas approaches, with its associated stressful activities and the anticipated influx of visitors, it is critical that I return to your homes to provide an update on what the government is doing to combat the pandemic, as well as what is expected of you, the Ghanaian people, during this festive season.
When I last gave an update, I mentioned that, despite our best efforts to rid the country of COVID-19, the war was far from finished, since the third wave of COVID-19 infections had begun, mostly due to the delta variation.
The months of August and September, in particular, were the most destructive, according to the data. In
just two months, the virus claimed the lives of 310 people, accounting for a quarter of the total number of people who have died from the virus since the first case was reported in March 2020.
Infection rates have been steadily declining since October and November, graciously and by God’s grace, this trend has maintained into early December.
As of Sunday, December 12th, 2,042,778 tests have been performed, with 131,911 positive instances being registered. 129,683 individuals have recovered, bringing the total number of active cases, or those infected with the virus, to 973.
Despite the fact that there is some positive news, we have seen 1,255 people die as a result of COVID-19.
The present data indicate that Ghana has a favorable COVID status, and I say this solely to encourage each of us to be cautious and follow the heightened hygiene measures that have served us so well thus far.
The majority of illnesses are concentrated in three regions: Ashanti, Greater Accra, and Volta.
Seven (7) areas have single-digit infections, while six (6) regions, namely Ahafo, North East, Oti, Savannah, Upper West, and Western North, have zero active cases at the time.
At the very least, we must do everything necessary to sustain this position, especially as the holiday season approaches.
We expect a big number of people, both Ghanaians, and foreigners, to arrive in the nation over the Christmas season. With the Immigration Service doing an excellent job of capturing many foreign nationals attempting to enter the country via illegal means, the government’s main priority has been to minimize the virus’s entry via the Kotoka International Airport.
As things stand, international travelers arriving at Kotoka are the country’s most common source of infection, prompting us to take extraordinary steps just recently to prevent the virus from spreading farther across the country.
According to the Ghana Health Service, the vast majority of positive cases at Kotoka, 75 percent, have been caused by passengers who have not been vaccinated.
Starting yesterday, Tuesday, December 14th, the government has mandated that all visitors to Ghana be completely vaccinated.
In addition, anyone planning to go outside the nation must be completely vaccinated.
Passengers who have been fully vaccinated and are traveling to Ghana must additionally have a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours, as well as perform an obligatory COVID test when they arrive at the airport. The test is free for children ages five (5) to twelve (12).
Any traveler who tests positive at the airport will be placed in isolation at a designated isolation facility, and non-Ghanaians will have to pay for their own treatment.
All airlines traveling into Ghana have been informed of the enforcement of a three thousand five hundred dollar (US$3,500) punishment for each unvaccinated passenger permitted to board an aircraft into the nation.
Unvaccinated Ghanaians and residents who left the country before the 14th of December and return before the 28th of December will be provided immunization at the airport.
The Ghana Health Service will offer further information.
I understand that these are severe procedures, but the advantages greatly exceed the drawbacks.
It is my responsibility as your President to safeguard lives and livelihoods. COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our economy, and I’m determined to assist the epidemic to be defeated so that we can get back to our regular lives as soon as possible.
We should take inspiration from what happened last Christmas, when the number of COVID infection cases and deaths skyrocketed in the months of January and February 2021.
After this year’s Christmas celebrations, we should avoid a repeat of this circumstance. We accomplish this by:
- guaranteeing that social activities are held in open places
- requiring participants to wear masks
- requiring social distance
- enforcing better hygiene measures, such as hand washing and the use of sanitizers; and
- urging attendees to come vaccinated as much as feasible.
Despite the fact that our active cases have decreased, mask use has remained low, and compliance with safety standards has been a challenge.
While the government works to get the required vaccinations to ensure that all Ghanaians are vaccinated, we cannot afford to ignore the social distancing, hand washing, mask-wearing, and heightened hygiene standards that have gotten us this far.
They must remain an integral part of our everyday lives and activities.
Getting the vaccine is the greatest way to avoid the pandemic, according to WHO, because it minimizes the risk of mortality, hospitalization, and viral spread. It is for this reason that we have committed to vaccinating twenty million Ghanaians by the end of the year, or the whole adult population.
We were confronted with vaccine supply limits and interruptions on a worldwide basis after the commencement of an outstanding immunization effort in March of this year.
Fortunately, the supply situation has improved significantly in recent months, and we believe that by the end of December, we will have obtained a total of around 26 million doses.
Indeed, the Ghana Health Service has received 17,736,710 vaccination doses as of yesterday, Tuesday, December 14th. By the end of the year, we estimate an additional 8,529,090 doses. We have a sufficient supply of vaccinations in the system.
So, my fellow Ghanaians, I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity and get vaccinated.
Out of the 17.7 million doses available, we have only been able to give 6,420,973 thus far. Let me express it as plainly as possible. The immunizations are completely safe. They have no intention of harming you.
They will safeguard you and your loved ones. Getting vaccinated, contrary to popular belief, would not force you to vote for the NPP in the 2024 elections if you do not want to.
This is a ridiculous assertion.
Vaccination won’t make you alter your mind on politics. That isn’t the point.
Vaccines in large numbers have been deployed to every area of the country.
As a result, we have declared December to be Vaccination Month, and we are launching an intensive vaccination push to ensure that as many Ghanaians as possible get vaccinated.
We are in a race against the clock, but we are determined to succeed.
On Monday, I was in Luxembourg, where I met with Herr Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, to discuss Ghana’s COVID-19 Response Plan.
The Bank has authorized an €82.5 million facility for Ghana, which will be used to improve healthcare service and provide specialized medical equipment and pharmaceuticals across the nation.
The government has put aside €20 million to establish the National Vaccine Institute, which will oversee the private sector’s and business community’s domestic manufacturing of COVID-19 and other vaccines.
As you are aware, we had no choice but to block our borders, which are a source of income for many people, in order to prevent the virus from entering the nation.
We’re keeping an eye on the disease’s danger level and continuous immunizations in our neighboring countries, and we’ll open the borders as soon as we’re sure it’s safe to do so.
Until then, I do not feel it is appropriate to restore our land borders, especially given our determination to avoid a fourth wave, and they will stay closed until further notice.
Should an outbreak of the virus occur, the government has bolstered up its reaction capabilities and capacity to cope with it.
Over time, we’ve extended our healthcare infrastructure, including oxygen supply and reach testing and treatment centers, and training of health professionals across the country in the care of severely and critically sick people.
However, sticking to the heightened cleanliness, social distance, and mask-wearing standards, as well as getting vaccinated, remains our best shot in the fight.
Let us make the decision to live and act properly over the Christmas season, remembering that our actions or inactions will either help to end the epidemic sooner or continue to spread the virus throughout the country.
I, for one, will do all in my power to preserve lives and livelihoods while also assisting in the restoration of normalcy in our country.
It is doable, and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo’s government is committed to achieving this goal as soon as possible.