Coronavirus: Ghana records one death, 21 cases

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President Akufo-Addo Saturday confirmed the first death in Ghana resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. 

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Moments after his third televised address Saturday evening at which time confirmed cases in the country stood at 19, health officials reported the figure has now risen to 21. 

The dead, according to the President, “had serious underlying health complications” and passed away in the early hours of Saturday. He also said he was reliably informed that all eighteen (minus the latest two) persons were doing well, responding to treatment and that eight of them were being managed from their homes, in isolation.

The President announced additional measures, including the closure of all of Ghana’s borders – Air, Sea, Land – to human traffic for the next two weeks, beginning midnight on Sunday, to help contain the spread of the disease. 

“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.”

President Akufo-Addo said 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.

He reiterated the need for regular hand washing, 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.”

National day of fasting and prayer

He said “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.”

Source: graphic online

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