Covid-19: Preserving Democracy; The Health of The Nation. what are our priorities? Part 1

On 12th March 2020, the first two cases of covid19 were recorded in Ghana from two individuals who returned from Norway and Turkey. Since then, the global pandemic has gained notoriety in Ghana and is making its paths deeper into even the 3 regions which hitherto for over two months had not recorded a single case. As a nation we can count in excess of 19,000 confirmed cases at the moment which is quite troubling. On 12th March Ghana had recorded 2 cases, 556 on 12th of April, 5,127 on 12th of May, 10, 856 on 12th of June and by this data, in excess of an estimated 25,000 cases by the 12th of July is projected, should the trend continues. Let’s hold on to the loss of human lives for now.

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What are our priorities as a nation? Are we conscious of the realities?  Are we managing this disease well enough?

Will we say recovery rates are impressive? Yes very, but have we thought about those who might have been exposed to these individuals before they showed symptoms? Could the numbers go up if we do not continue with the attitude we exhibited when we first learnt about the disease? Are we very safe when Greater Accra, the capital of Ghana has less than 5,000 bed capacity? And what happens should recovery rates not continue to save the situation as has been the case? With a backlog of tests yet to be released and the fact that suspected individuals are discharged to go home and to self-isolate after a few days, are we possibly causing more harm than good? Why have we as a nation waited to complain about shortages of test kits when we know from the global trend that we needed to expect such hikes?

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Are the agencies helping the President of the land enough to do his work effectively after he consistently reiterated the fact that he will not put Ghanaian lives in danger?

Knowing very well that the habit of distancing socially is a challenge as a nation because of our cultural orientation- eg in our markets, shops, schools, religious gatherings, other social gatherings & events etc, does it not become a national headache when people fail to heed to the advice on social distancing protocols at registration centres?

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How do we change this habit as a people? Should agencies and institutions be allowed to downplay their roles to offer the opportunity for certain individuals and organizations to score political points out of a deep-rooted national canker? Once again are some individuals and agencies making the the government and the EC look as if they are not working enough? Who enforces law of social distancing at registration centres? Are we saving our democracy at the expense of our health?

Why have the nation Ghana which was rated amongst the best managers of the pandemic suddenly cut down tests at a time when the case counts are escalating and is nearing a 20,000 mark?

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Should the President of the land His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo call some specific individuals, agencies and institutions to order before the nation falls sick? Can we be excited with the high recovery rates only, and yet ignore a surge in the death rates (117 deaths as at the time of writing) coupled with lesser numbers of testing as a whole? Have the interests and focus of the nation changed? In case we are pursuing the two agenda, are we placing priority on democracy over the nation’s health?

As we deploy our military to prevent intruders from neighboring countries who could be carriers of the disease, can we consider deploying enough police to enforce the president’s directives at the registration centres to save the citizens from getting possible infection from unsuspecting individuals? Do we need to change our attitude as a people so as to make this voter registration exercise a success or we allow the naysayers to celebrate at the end of the day? Can we sanitize the entire voter registration exercise?

What are our priorities?

From:
The President,
INTELLECTUAL PATRIOTS

Probing the Statusquo: Facing the Reality

Contact: info.intellectualpatriots@gmail.com

Full speach of Prez Akufo-Addo On Updates To Ghana’s Enhanced Response To The Coronavirus Pandemic

Address To The Nation By The President Of The Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, On Updates To Ghana’s Enhanced Response To The Coronavirus Pandemic, On Sunday, 26th April, 2020.

Fellow Ghanaians, good evening. It is a privilege for me, once again, to come into your homes to speak to you about the state of our common battle against the pandemic of the Coronavirus that is affecting all parts of the world, including our own. Exactly a week ago, I announced the lifting of restrictions on movement of persons resident in Accra, Kumasi, Tema and Kasoa. I did so on the basis of the data and science, as well as on a careful analysis of the impact of the restrictions on several sectors of our population, especially our informal workers, who need to have a day out in order to provide for themselves and their families, the poor and the vulnerable.

Since I last spoke to you, we have completed the analysis of another thirty two thousand, and thirty one (32,031) samples, bringing the number of tests from sixty-eight thousand, five hundred and ninety-one (68,591) to one hundred thousand, six hundred and twenty two (100,622). From this pool, the total number of confirmed infections have gone from one thousand and forty-two (1,042), to one thousand, five hundred and fifty (1,550).

Our recoveries are now one hundred and fifty-five (155), and deaths eleven (11). The two (2) new cases of deaths, like the other nine (9), are all of persons with underlying health issues, what the doctors call comorbidity. The positivity rate, i.e. the rate of infection from those sampled, continues to remain constant at 1.5%. Six (6) persons are critically ill, and the remaining one thousand, three hundred and seventy-eight (1,378) have mild or no symptoms at all, and are responding to treatment. Of the five hundred and eight (508) new confirmed cases, four hundred and sixty-five (465) are from the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, ten (10) from Kasoa in the Central Region, seven (7) from the Ashanti Region, six (6) in the Eastern Region, two (2) in the Northern Region, one (1) in Western North, and seventeen (17) from the Oti Region.

These seventeen (17) were the result of interceptions near Nkwanta by officers of the Immigration Service and other security personnel of two (2) cargo vehicles that had on 2 board a total of sixty-seven (67) passengers, who were illegally entering the Region from Accra during the period of the ‘lockdown’, and all of whom were tested, with seventeen (17) proving positive. We are still very much in unchartered territory, and, clearly, we still have some way to go towards ridding ourselves of the virus.

The truth is that this will be a long war, broken up into several battles. Indeed, we registered a modest success in the important battle to trace and test many of the persons who had come into contact with infected persons, and we cannot, and will not rest on our laurels. We will not let our guard down, as the fight against this virus has to progress. We will pursue vigorously our strategy of enhanced 3Ts, i.e. tracing and testing to allow us identify infected persons, and isolating and treating them. It is the surest way to root out the virus.

Also: Ban on public gatherings extended for the next two weeks

Our efforts will remain constant, as will our abiding faith in the Almighty and our determination to defeat the virus. We must continue to be grateful to members of the media, members of our security forces, and our health workers for their sacrifice and high sense of patriotism in their contribution to the fight against the virus. The health workers, who are working day and night to care for the stricken, must continually be in our prayers. Their efforts will be in vain if we, at home, do not support them. In addition to the incentive package given to all health workers, Government has enabled domestic production and supply of protective equipment to our health workers to increase significantly – they have received, in recent days, nine hundred and five thousand, and thirty-one (905,031) nose masks, thirty one thousand, six hundred and thirty (31,630) medical scrubs, thirty one thousand, four hundred and seventy-two (31,472) gowns, forty six thousand, eight hundred and seventy (46,870) head covers, and eighty three thousand, five hundred (83,500) N-95 face masks.

We are also grateful for yesterday’s gift of medical supplies from the government of the United States of America to help boost our testing capacity, the latest assistance we have received from a friendly foreign nation. So, let us, on our part, continue to protect further our health workers by practicing social distancing, washing our hands with soap under running water, refraining from shaking hands, and, yes, wearing our masks 3 whenever we leave our homes. I am happy to note that the hardworking Minister for Health, Hon. Kwaku Agyemang Manu, Member of Parliament for Dormaa Central, has, as of yesterday, 25th April, 2020, issued directives to guide the production and mandatory wearing of face masks. We should all familiarize ourselves with them, and apply them, as the Regional Coordinating Councils of the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Central Regions are demanding of their residents.

Together, all these protocols will prove effective in helping each one of us to avoid contracting the virus. The doctors and scientists tell us that the virus is transmitted from human contact – talking, singing, coughing, sneezing, and, thereby, sending droplets of the virus from one person to another. That is why each one of us must adhere strictly to these directives.

Fellow Ghanaians, in the course of this past week, I engaged a number of stakeholders to discuss the future of existing measures which have imposed restrictions on public gatherings, shut down our schools, and closed our borders. I met with the Chairperson and Members of the Council of State, the President and Members of the Standing Committee of the National House of Chiefs, representatives of organised labour, i.e. the leadership of the Trades Union Congress, the leadership of the Christian Community, the leadership of the Muslim Community, the President and Executive Committee of the Ghana Medical Association, representatives and leaders of the Media, and the leadership of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), and its affiliated associations.

The strong consensus that emerged from these and other consultations is that the existing measures must be maintained for now, until we have a firm grip on the movement of the virus. This consensus is supported by data and science, and I am also very much of this view. I have, accordingly, by Executive Instrument, extended for another two (2) weeks the suspension of all public and social gatherings, as set out in E.I 64 of 15th March, 2020, effective tomorrow, 1am, Monday, 27th April.

I am encouraged that so many of our trotros, taxis, and buses are operating with a minimal number of passengers, and our businesses and supermarkets are enforcing the need for social distancing, the use of hand sanitizers and the wearing of masks for all patrons and staff. I want to signal out supermarkets such as Melcom, Palace and Shoprite, in particular, for the 4 excellent discipline they are maintaining in their enterprises across the country, and call upon all other enterprises, especially our market women, to emulate them. The example of markets in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis, where social distancing is being well observed, is an excellent one for market women all over the country. I am fully aware of the sacrifices in reduced revenues that all businesses and enterprises are suffering. But, I believe we have no option but to sacrifice to defeat this virus.

This is the time for sacrifice, so that we do not have to bear a greater cost in the future. Unhappily, there continues to be the worrying news of a few Ghanaians aiding some West African nationals to enter our country illegally, despite the closure of our borders. Even more disturbing is the fact that several of the West Africans, who have been arrested, have later tested positive for the virus.

These are unpatriotic acts, and must stop. We cannot continue to allow a few persons, who are motivated by their own selfish, money-making interests, to endanger the lives of the rest of the population. Not only will persons who enter our country illegally be strictly dealt with, but so will Ghanaians who facilitate their entry. As I have said before, being a Ghanaian must mean that we look out for each other. Just as the virus has disrupted our daily lives, it has also exposed the deficiencies of our healthcare system, because of years of under-investment and neglect. Whilst maternal, new-born, adolescent health and nutrition remain our top priorities, we must pay increased attention to chronic, noncommunicable diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes and asthma, which have proved to be the common risk factors for the eleven (11) deaths we have recorded from the virus.

It has highlighted the need to address mental health issues, and the crucial role of emergency services, to which the new fleet of ambulances and drones are responding. We must emphasise preventive and promotive aspects of health, in addition to care for the sick. The virus has also revealed the unequal distribution of healthcare facilities, as we have tended to focus our infrastructure on Accra and one or two of our other big cities. But, as we have seen, epidemics and pandemics, when they emerge, can spread to any part of our country.

There are eighty-eight (88) districts in our country without district hospitals; we have six (6) new regions without regional hospitals; we do not have 5 infectious disease control centres dotted across the country; and we do not have enough testing and isolation centres for diseases like COVD-19. We must do something urgently about this. That is why Government has decided to undertake a major investment in our healthcare infrastructure, the largest in our history. We will, this year, begin constructing eighty-eight (88) hospitals in the districts without hospitals.

It will mean ten (10) in Ashanti, nine (9) in Volta, nine (9) in Central, eight (8) in Eastern, seven (7) in Greater Accra, seven (7) in Upper East, five (5) in Northern, five (5) in Oti, five (5) in Upper West, five (5) in Bono, four (4) in Western North, four (4) in Western, three (3) in Ahafo, three (3) in Savannah, two (2) in Bono East, and two (2) in North East Regions.

Each of them will be a quality, standard-design, one hundredbed hospital, with accommodation for doctors, nurses and other health workers, and the intention is to complete them within a year. We have also put in place plans for the construction of six (6) new regional hospitals in the six (6) new regions, and the rehabilitation of the EffiaNkwanta Hospital, in Sekondi, which is the regional hospital of the Western Region. We are going to beef up our existing laboratories, and establish new ones across every region for testing. We will establish three (3) infectious disease control centres for each of the zones of our country, i.e. Coastal, Middle Belt and Northern, with the overall objective of setting up a Ghana Centre for Disease Control. The recent, tragic CSM outbreak, with over forty (40) deaths, has reaffirmed the need for ready access to such infectious disease control centres, even though, in our time, nobody should die of the disease.

Early reporting is what is required, and I implore everybody to heed this call. We shall make these investments in our healthcare system not because it is going to be easy, but because it is self-evidently necessary to serve the needs of 21st century Ghana. The three (3) Development Authorities, the Zongo Development Fund, and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies will be tasked to place health infrastructure amongst their highest priorities in the coming years.

Soon, at the appropriate time, the exact volume of investment required will be duly and transparently laid out for public scrutiny and action. 6 It is obvious that, side by side with the investment in the physical infrastructure of our public health system, we will have to intensify our policies for the growth of our domestic pharmaceutical industry, so that we can generate our own medicines and medical supplies and products.

We should no longer be dependent on foreign imports. Further, the National Health Insurance Scheme is, currently, in a stronger position, as a result of the significant reduction in outstanding arrears. It is my hope and expectation that this expanded and empowered public health system will be the most enduring legacy of the pandemic. Universal health coverage in Ghana will, then, become real and meaningful, for every Ghanaian deserves good health and good healthcare.

Fellow Ghanaians, just as the Christian Celebration of Easter was severely affected by the virus, resulting in the cancellation of the usual activities associated with Easter, the Holy Month of Ramadan has not been spared either. It is my understanding that in the time of the Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Allayhi Wa’Salam, anytime there was heavy rain, he admonished the faithful, through the Azan, to stay in their houses and pray, rather than going to the mosques.

In Bukhari’s collection of the Hadith, Book 13, Hadith No. 24, Ibn Sirin reports that Ibn Abbas said to his muezzin, and I quote, “after saying ‘I testify that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger’, do not say, ‘come for the prayer’, but say, ‘pray in your houses’…It was done by one much better than I…” (that is the Prophet) Through analogical deduction, Muslim scholars agree that ‘rain’ represented danger, and, therefore, the prescription for Muslims to stay at home and pray in times of heavy rain is applicable to all life-threatening situations.

I, thus, call on all Muslims to heed this prophetic admonishment to pray at home, so we can protect ourselves from the danger of COVID-19. This is in line with the counsel of the wise, devout Muslim scholar, the Chief Imam, Sheikh Dr. Osman Nuhu Sharubutu. I wish all Muslims Ramadan Mubarak. In this period, let me state, once again, that the virus is the enemy, and not one another. We must be resolute in our unity to defeat this invisible enemy. No country on earth has been spared the ravages of this virus, and my singleminded goal is how to steer the country out of this crisis, protect our 7 population from the virus, and see to the rebuilding of our economy. Nothing else matters for me. Fellow Ghanaians, we must now begin to lift our heads above the parapet, and look at our future with courage and hope. I shall be outlining, shortly, the path for bringing the restrictive measures, systematically, to an end, and defining the basket of measures for the revival and growth of our national economy. We have to own our future.

I am truly proud, and, indeed, humbled, to stand here today as your President, witnessing the unfettered assistance Ghanaians have given to each other, the help you have offered to those in need, the generosity of your contributions to the COVID-19 National Trust Fund, and the support and understanding you have given to the difficult measures Government has had to undertake.

It is said that out of adversity comes opportunity, and, through this ordeal, we, Ghanaians, have had the opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to one another, showing the best of who we are. The solidarity and humanity on display in these past days fills me with even more optimism that Ghana will overcome this crisis, and come out even stronger and more resilient.

Enuanom, me nim sɛ nia aba yi, aha nyen nyinaa. Nenso, me wɔ awirehyemu sɛ, Onyankopɔn adaruma, nsɛm aa makasɛ nyɛ yɔ no, aa yɛɛ yɛ no, yɛkɔsu di su aa, enu na ɛbɛ boa yɛn. Obia hohoro ni nsa, obiaa ndi ni hu ni, ye pia aa, yɛn shɛ mask, yɛwɔ abɔntin aa, yɛn ma kwain ɛnda yɛntem. ɛyɛ masɛdiɛ sɛɛ asɛm bi baa, ɛsɛ mi bɔ mo ho bain. Mon boa mi, na mentumi yɛ m’adwuma. Na Onyankopɔn bɛ boa ama yefri ɔhaw yi mu. Anyɛmi mɛi, inle akɛshi nɔni eba nɛɛ, egba wɔfɛɛ wɔ na. Shi iyɛ hemɔ kɛ yɛli akɛ, Nyumor dromor naa, nibii ni inkɛ akɛ wɔ fee, ni wɔn fee, kɛ wo ye nɔ, no ni baa wa wɔ fɛɛ. Mofɛmɔ afɔ ede, ni ekwɛ ehe jogbaa. Kɛ wor je kpo, wor wo mask ɛɛ. Kɛ wor je kpo, wɔ ha gbɛ aka wɔ tein. Innitsumɔ ji akɛ, kɛ sane ba, esani makwɛ ni noko aka fee nyɛ. Nyɛ wami, ni ma nyɛ mafee innitsumɔ. Ni, Nyumor baa wa wɔ, ni wɔ dze nekɛ sane nɛɛ mi.

This, too, shall pass! For the battle is the Lord’s. 8 May God bless us all, and our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.

I thank you for your attention.

Update 8: Prez Akufo-Addo to speak to Ghanaians tonight

The President of the Republic, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will tonight address the nation and give update on the fight against novel Covid-19 pandemic and things the government has put in place in fighting the disease.

The President on Sunday 19th April 2020 addressed the nation and lifted the partial lockdown which was imposed on some some parts of the country.

Some Ghanaians have started anticipating a nationwide lockdown since most people are not adhering to the precautionary protocols.

Just as the President said, all measures shall be subjected for review and he is expected to speak around 20:00GMT

Ghana now has 1,550 confirmed cases with 11 deaths and 155 recoveries

“Covid-19: Let the scientists do the talking, not the politicians” – Prez Akufo-Addo to the media

“When people are going to talk about this disease (Coronavirus), they will talk about it from the viewpoint of science. Get the scientists. Let them be the ones to talk. Get those who have specialist information. That is what I will encourage you to do.”

These were the words of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Friday, 24th April, 2020, when he met with the leadership of the National Media Commission, the Ghana Journalists Association, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association, the Private Newspaper Publishers Association of Ghana, as well as the leadership of State-Owned media organisations on the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his remarks, he encouraged the media to “bring those who have the knowledge, and let them, through you, explain these matters to the public.”

Whilst acknowledging that politicians would want to comment on everything, the President stated that, for the time being, I don’t see the politics involved in what we are doing. What we want to see is as much as possible the airwaves being filled with the information that the scientists have.”

Stressing that the country is blessed with a crop of good scientists who have credible information about the virus, President Akufo-Addo noted that he is privileged to be working with some of them, including the Presidential Advisor on Health, Dr. Nsiah Asare, and the Co-ordinator of the Ghana COVID-19 Task Force, Dr Asamoah Baah.

“Luckily for me, he (Dr. Asamoah Baah) had just come back for retirement when these events broke. He was a central feature and element in the planning of the WHO when the Ebola pandemic broke out. Clearly, he has the experience and the background to deal with this. I corralled him to come and help lead the thinking on the things that we need to do. We have serious, excellent, responsible people who have a lot of information,” he added.

REJOINDER: Covid-19 and procurement method – Ebenezer Aidoo

I wrote a short piece in relation to Covid-19 and procurement method.

I wrote the piece without any malice to any higher Authority or Official.

I humbly submit that upon sober reflections, some part of the article should have been edited.

I am by this medium rendering my unqualified apologies to the Management and Board of PPA.

I wish to congratulate them for the good job done in the face of many challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic.

I pray God see us through it all so we can have our nation back to normal times.

Thank you.

Ebenezer K. Aidoo
0241971675

Un picks Accra, three others for Covid-19 regional humanitarian hub

The United Nations has selected Ghana’s capital, Accra, along with a few others to set up Africa-wide regional hubs for its humanitarian operations in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

Other hubs will be established in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the Egyptian capital of Cairo and Johannesburg in South Africa to serve three main functions;

  • as cargo hubs to receive medical and humanitarian supplies from United Nations global hubs for distribution to UN entities in the region;
  • as regional aviation services to ensure the transportation of UN humanitarian personnel around the region in the absence of commercial flights and;
  • as locations for the establishment of regional treatment centers for UN staff who are staying in the region to deliver on humanitarian and development mandates.

A statement issued Thursday to the Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government on COVID-19, signed by Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) announced the initiative.

It added that the UN was working with ECOWAS in Nigeria to make available UN procurement system to obtain value for money in the acquisition and speedy delivery of essential medical supplies needed by the sub-regional health organization (WAHO) for distribution to member states in the fight against COVID-19.

It said the world body was working closely with national governments to set up the regional humanitarian hubs and that the Secretary General would in the coming days write to ECOWAS Heads of State to seek their support for the initiative.

Possible Coronavirus cure from Ghana in the pipeline – GAMH hints

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ghana Associations of Medical Herbalists (GAMH), Prince Osei, has mentioned on Happy Morning Show (HMS) that samples of herbal medicine have been sent to the lab for research as a possible cure for coronavirus (COVID-19).

The PRO of GAMH (which is the only professional association of herbal medicine professionals) trained at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) revealed this in an interview with the host of Happy Morning Show (HMS), Samuel Eshun. He said: ‘’As I speak, some members of our association have already sent samples of herbal medicine to the requisite bodies pending research and approval as the cure for coronavirus’’.

He however stated that there exist in Ghana several herbal immune boosters in the country which can be used in the fight against coronavirus while waiting for a cure.

‘’ Hydrochloroquine and azithromycin that are being used to treat coronavirus are only treating symptoms. If you have headache or cough, that is what will be treated. If you look at recovered cases currently, you will see that immunity is key so I urge government to really look at the registered immune boosters produced in Ghana as part of managing coronavirus cases here in Ghana’’, he said.

He also drew attention to the fact that all affected countries are overwhelmed with the number of confirmed cases they have so even if a cure is found elsewhere today it will be difficult for it to come to Ghana.

He, further touted the credentials of herbal medicines from Ghana on the African continent. ‘’In Africa, Ghana’s herbal medicine is trusted, so why can’t government look at herbal medicine as a credible alternative’’, he said.

He explained the distinction between GAMH and Traditional and Alternative Medicine Directorate (TAMD).

‘’At GAMH we believe that there are some phytol chemicals in herbs that is why we take the herbs to the lab to ascertain the efficacy of the components of the herbal medicines using scientific methods. However, traditional medicine has some spirituality components. When you go to a fetish priest for herbs and you are told to observe certain rituals before or after using the herbs that is traditional medicine, herbal medicine relies on science’’, he explained.

Prior to the introduction of the professional practice of herbal medicine, made possible by way of formal education/training in Ghana through the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the unprofessional/informal practice of herbal medicine existed and still exists.

Source: happyghana.com

Coronavirus pandemic will cause global famines of ‘biblical proportions’ – UN warns, as it lists Nigeria among countries at risk of famine

The United Nations has warned nations of the world to prepare for global famines of ‘biblical proportions’ due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic while naming Nigeria amongst a list of top ten countries at risk of an all out famine.

According to the executive director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley, in a matter of months the pandemic will push an additional 130 million people to the brink of starvation and in a worst case scenario famines will occur “about three dozen countries”.

According to the UN, ten out of those three dozen countries already have more than 1 million people close to starvation.

According to the UNWFP Director Beasley (pictured above), vast food shortages will occur due to factors like conflict, economic recession, a decline in aid and a collapse in oil prices.

“While dealing with a Covid-19 pandemic, we are also on the brink of a hunger pandemic,” David Beasley told the UN’s security council.

“There is also a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of Covid-19 than from the virus itself.”

The agency identified 55 countries, with ten being singled as mostly at risk of a ‘hunger pandemic’. The ten countries include Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Nigeria and Haiti.

According to the UN Agency, these countries apart from being at risk of entering famine have fragile healthcare systems which make them unable to cope with the impact of the virus.

“These countries may face an excruciating trade-off between saving lives or livelihoods or, in a worst-case scenario, saving people from the coronavirus to have them die from hunger,” the report said.

“Lockdowns and economic recession are expected to lead to a major loss of income among the working poor,” Beasley said. Overseas remittances will also drop sharply, affecting countries such as Haiti, Nepal, and Somalia, for example.

“The loss of tourism receipts will damage countries such as Ethiopia (and) the collapsing oil prices in lower-income countries like South Sudan will have an impact significantly,” he added.

He appealed to UN member states to act now, telling them: “There are no famines yet. But I must warn you that if we don’t prepare and act now — to secure access, avoid funding shortfalls and disruptions to trade — we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months.

“The truth is, we do not have time on our side, so let’s act wisely — and let’s act fast,” he added. “I do believe that with our expertise and partnerships, we can bring together the teams and the programs necessary to make certain the Covid-19 pandemic does not become a humanitarian and food crisis catastrophe.”

“Your bold decisions have led to Ghana’s low Covid-19 infection rate” – Togbe Afede XIV to Prez Akufo-Addo

The President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede XIV, has thanked the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for instituting the bold measures that have resulted in a rather low infection rate of 1.5% in the country.

Delivering his remarks on Wednesday, 22nd April, 2020, when the Executive Committee of the National House of Chiefs held a meeting, at the invitation of President Akufo-Addo, at Jubilee House, Togbe Afede XIV extended the appreciation of the entire House of Chiefs to the President for this feat.

“On behalf of my colleagues, I wish to congratulate you for all the bold decisions that have produced this low infection rate – the ban on public gatherings, closure of our borders, social distancing and the recent lockdown of parts of the country. They are very commendable, bold decisions,” he said.

According to Togbe Afede XIV, the National House of Chiefs has taken a keen interest in the fight against COVID-19, and, “that is why, among other things, we have asked our Chiefs and other traditional rulers to put in their maximum effort in support of government.”

He continued, “We consider our country to be at war, and so we have asked our Chiefs to take it as their obligation to lead the fight against COVID-19, the invisible enemy. We asked our chiefs to rise up to the occasion and support government’s efforts to fight the disease.”

Amongst others, Togbe Afede revealed that all Chiefs across the country have been asked to keep abreast of the preventative measures and directives issued by government, and to abide by them and educate their subjects in order to stem the spread of the disease in their various communities.

Again, he indicated that the National House of Chiefs has asked for the suspension of all traditional festivals, and asked chiefs to ensure that any rites or traditional activities and purification rites are consistent with the President’s directives on social distancing.

“I am happy to note that our various regional houses, traditional councils, individual chiefs have all been very supportive and have done various things in their communities to support the fight and I am glad about the appreciation that you have shown for these various efforts. Everybody here has done something in his community, some donated cash and some have educated their communities on the directives,” he added.

Expressing his delight about the fact that “so far, Ghana has not recorded COVID- related violence, the type we hear about in India and all those places”, he indicated that the policies introduced by President Akufo-Addo that “have been adopted here are generally understood and have been observed by our people. Congrats to the approach of your team.”

Togbe Afede noted that the COVID-19 pandemic should imbibe in all Ghanaians the importance of savings and investments against a rainy day.

“We must cultivate a saving habit in preparation for future exigencies. Your Excellency, I also want to re-echo the point you have made very often that we are in this battle together against the invisible enemy and we all need to be united and nation minded in all that we say at this critical time in our nation’s history,” he noted.

Editorial: Is Government misleading Ghanaians with Coronavirus data?

It has emerged that the Government of Ghana is misleading Ghanaians with a high number of figures which is considered as the number of cases tested so far.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Sunday, April 19, 2020, through his televised broadcast noted that Ghana has so far tested 68,591 people for the Coronavirus.

He said that the 68,591 was out of 86,000 contacts which the country had traced.

He explained: “There is, thus, a backlog of some 18,000 tests whose results are yet to be received. The overwhelming majority of these contacts have been established in the last three weeks of the partial lockdown in Accra and Kumasi. Out of this number, 1,042 persons, i.e. 1.5%, have been confirmed as positive, with 67,549, i.e. 98.5%, testing negative; 99 persons have recovered and have been discharged; and 930 persons, who have been isolated, are responding to treatment either in their homes or in treatment facilities.”

Meanwhile, Ghanaians are being told that for patients to be discharged, they need to be tested at least thrice to prove that they are negative before they could be discharged.

Situating this argument with the number of people recovered, namely, 99 patients, it implies that the 68,591 government is claiming to be the number of patients tested so far is false.

Therefore, if the 99 patients who have recovered were tested three times (99 by 3 =297), and add that to the number of tests so far, the total number of tests conducted since the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus

in Ghana will not be the 68,591; here it is inflated but in reality, it must be less. This implies that the figures are not a true reflection of the actually less number of people tested.

Prof Agyeman Badu Akosa on Citi TV had raised concerns about the data on the Ghana Health Service website.

According to him, in a situation where 12,000 outstanding tests which results are yet to be received rather saw a sharp increase in numbers to 1042.

“Surprisingly on April 13, 2020, that was the number that had been positive and reported on the Ghana Health Service official website but somehow, that number only came out from the President’s address on Sunday.

“In a sense, I am seeing that the results, probably are coming, but somehow results are being managed in a manner that might look suitable,” he said.

Prof Akosa further stated that even though the health officials were quick to remove the said figure from the official website, the graph on the website indicated that Ghana had attained 1042 case count before the televised announcement by the President.

But Dr Bernard Okoe-Boye, the Deputy Minister for Health admitted that indeed the figures do not give a true reflection but rather they aid the statistics of the health workers.

He added even the numbers appear to have been increased to create a certain impression per critical analysis, they give a significant number if the actual figures are used.

Dr Okoe-Boye explained that “if you’ve tested 50,000 of which some have to be tested two or three times, the figure [50,000] is needed for your statistics. Remember without that number of tests, you couldn’t have recorded the said figure…

“There are two ways to look at it…you look at it from the number of tests you’ve done, to show that you are investing resources into the number of the testing regime but in terms of the coverage I admit it if you want to take it out to have a true reflection.”

Ghanaians are already doubting the figures that are being recorded on the official COVID-19 website managed by Ghana Health Service.

On the website, the graph representation shows that already the data is flattened without any number of data from April 14 to April 19, 2020. As to what that means the health officials need to explain further.

How long will churches, mosques, schools remain closed? – Akufo-Addo decides

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is meeting members of the Council of State to decide on the future of Ghana regarding the measures put in place in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The president expressed satisfaction with the measures so far and, more importantly, the level of compliance by the majority of Ghanaians but said a decision has to be taken on “where we should be going”.

He expressed these sentiments on Tuesday, April 21 when he met the Council of State at the Jubilee House.

Led by Chairman Nana Otuo Siriboe II, the Council of State expressed admiration for the manner in which the president has handled the crisis so far and spurred him on to continue in that direction.

“Indeed, looking at one of the speeches, it reminded me of the way Churchill adopted the affairs of Britain during the 2nd World War and I said Mr President this has been very ‘Churchillian’ both in your delivery and in your comportment and in the depth and content of your speech,” Nana Otuo Siriboe II said.

In explaining the reasons behind the recent single-most important decision to lift the partial lockdown in some parts of the country, President Akufo-Addo acknowledged that other measures are still in force, nonetheless.

But he wondered how these can be dealt with as they cannot be a “permanent feature of our national lives”.

“I am anxious to hear your views as to where we are, where we should be going,” he addressed the Council.

“There are still very important measures in place that are impacting the daily lives of our people. How long can we keep the churches closed, how long can we keep the mosques closed? What about our schools? When are they going to be able to resume? What are the circumstances or conditions that we have to see in satisfying before those measures can be taken?”

The closed-door meeting with the Council is expected to firm up decisions on the way forward.

FDA’s recommendations on how homemade face masks should be produced and worn

FDA approves usage of homemade face masks
The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has given approval for the usage of homemade face masks by Ghanaians.
The Authority has also outline best ways to use the homemade face masks.
According to the FDA, face masks must be able to filter out particles and still be easy to breathe through.
“In the absence of propylene, which is the common material used for medical grade face masks, 100% cotton or cotton blends possess good material characteristics for homemade face masks. Recent studies/evaluations undertaken by the FDA on viable materials for the production”
The FDA further recommends that “Reusable homemade face masks should be properly washed before reuse. Used homemade face masks must first be disinfected; then washed with soap or detergent until clean, rinsed under running water; dried in the open sun, and ironed before reuse”
Touching on the fabric to be used, the FDA said fabric used for face masks should be free from all chemicals.
Below is the full specifications:
SPECIFICATIONS
i. Dimensions
• Length: Cheek-to-cheek: 10 inches
• Width: 6 inches
• Thickness: Three layers: Not Less Than (NLT) 0.759mm
• Porosity: ≥10000 Pascal
ii. Splash Test (Alcohol-based aerosol spray): No stain of alcohol-based aerosol should be seen at the reverse side of the face mask
iii. Filtration of Bacteria: Reduction of NLT 3 log.
SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HOMEMADE FACE MASKS
Fabric and Design
•It is recommended that fabric used for face mask should be free from all chemicals.
•In any event that printed fabric is used, the layer of the fabric in direct contact with the face should be plain fabric that is free from chemicals.
Fabric/Material Combinations
To be effective, face masks generally must be able to filter out particles and still be easy to breathe through. In the absence of propylene, which is the common material used for medical grade face masks, 100% cotton or cotton blends possess good material characteristics for homemade face masks. Recent studies/evaluations undertaken by the FDA on viable materials for the production following:of effective homemade face masks from local fabrics/materials established the
1. Calico-Stiff (Hard/Medium)-Calico (three layers) combination is ideal for reusable homemade COVID-19 face mask.
2. Calico-Calico-Calico (three layers) combination is ideal for reusable homemade COVID-19 face mask.
Cleaning of Homemade Face Masks
Reusable homemade face masks should be properly washed before reuse. Used homemade face masks must first be disinfected; then washed with soap or detergent until clean, rinsed under running water; dried in the open sun, and ironed before reuse.
They should be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use or when saturated from condensation build-up from breathing, or after a contamination event.
**Provide identification tags on the face masks, including the FDA Registration Number.

COVID-19: Court fines 6 people GH¢86,400 for attending birthday party

Court fines 6 people Ghc86,400 for attending birthday party
An Accra Circuit Court has fined six people a total of GH¢86,400 for attending a birthday party at Teshie in violation of the restriction imposed on public gatherings in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.

Each of the convicts was sentenced to a fine of 1,200 penalty units (GH¢14,400) by the court, presided over by Ms Afia Owusua Appiah.

In default, the six convicts will each serve five years in prison.
The convicts are Amadi Mine, Precious Aboy-Iyen, Marshal Oviegjare, Godsway Fejiro, Elliot Sharker and David Amos.

All the six pleaded guilty to conspiracy not to comply with restrictions imposed by the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012) and failure to comply with Act 1012.

Birthday party

The prosecutor, Chief Inspector Gulliver Tenkorang, told the court that the six were part of a group of 50 who attended a birthday party at Teshie First Junction on last Saturday (April 18).
According to him, the partygoers took to their heels when the police got there.
However, he said the police gave them a hot chase and arrested the six.

How Ghanaians are reacting to lifting of partial lockdown

President Nana Akufo-Addo has lifted restrictions imposed on the movement of persons on Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi and surrounding towns as part of efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the President, the 3-week lockdown has achieved its objectives, among which was the need to scale up tracing and testing people who may have come into contact with those who had already tested positive.

Addressing the nation in his seventh televised broadcast since the first confirmed cases of the disease in the middle of March, the President said the decision to suspend the lockdown will take effect from Monday, April 20, 2020.
From more than 60,000 samples tested so far, the president said, “we’ve been able to understand better the dynamism of the virus, mapped out its geographic footprint and established current and potential hotspots.”
“We’ve also been able to isolate and educate asymptomatic carriers and thereby help minimize the spread of the virus,” he continued.
But there has been a mixed reaction from Ghanaians on social media especially twitter.

Here are some of the reactions.

Akosuah May💕@Akosuahmay

Very bad decision Nana Addo

🤦‍♀️
, community spread will start soon

Nungua Burnaboy@Views09

Ghana was locked down when we had less than 30 cases but Nana Addo has lifted the lockdown at 1042 cases now
We have lost the fight

😔

Kelewele Joint 🍟@Ankamagyimi

Ghanaians just like talking too much. Developed countries are still practicing lockdown

You’ve talked and forced Nana Addo saa now he has ended the lockdown

The virus is still out there, people will now move about freely. If someone has it just know he’ll spread it

Kay 💧@Kaypoisson1

The economic situation of some Ghanaians in lockdown influenced Nana Addo’s decision to lift the ban

Some people really dey struggle.. not saying the lift of the ban was good but I understand

K O K U 🇬🇭@Fkoku

He understood that this is freedom, But he didn’t know that He has lost his safety stuff. after the speech by Nana Addo
.

View image on Twitter

Alex Mould@alexkmould

Prez Akufo-Addo’s dilemma

Risk killing the economy or hundreds of people?

May the Lord give him the serenity in his decision

🙏

🙏

Abdul@naghajah

I can imagine how the Central Business Districts(Makola, Kantamanto, Circle, tip-toe lane, Kejetia In Kumasi,) are going to be tomorrow. Free infection of COVID 19. Courtesy president Nana Addo. How more wicked can this man be.

4

Editorial: Be mindful, we are Fighting two main pandemics at the same time

There are two main pandemics at the moment.

1. Coronavirus
2. Hunger virus.

There are two main group of people at the moment in Ghana
1.The rich
2. The poor.

The the global irony and Ghana outlook.

The rich is afraid of the virus. The poor is afraid of hunger.

The rich wants the poor to stay at home to avoid the spread, but hunger won’t allow the poor to stay at home.

The poor fears that if they stay at home, the hunger virus will kill them. The rich fears that if they also come out the coronavirus will kill them.
What a delicate issue.

My diagnosis
In other to restore the world or Ghana to it’s normal social equilibrium. The rich should assist the poor with food, so that they can stay at home.

When the rich succeeds in keeping the poor at home by providing enough food.
The spread of the coronavirus which the rich fears the most will be chased out!

This is common sense…..Yet because some people have the microphones, all you hear is stay at home. How can they stay at home when the hunger virus is at home.

#FightCoronavirus
#FightHunger

In case you missed it: Address to the Nation by Prez Akufo-Addo on updates to Ghana’s enhanced response to the Coronavirus pandemic, on Sunday, 19th April, 2020.

ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO, ON UPDATES TO GHANA’S ENHANCED RESPONSE TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, ON SUNDAY, 19TH APRIL, 2020.

Fellow Ghanaians, good evening,

Today, Sunday, 19th April, 2020, is exactly three (3) weeks since I came to you and announced the imposition of restrictions to movement in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area and Kasoa, and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area and its contiguous districts. I explained, at the time, that the decision was taken to give Government the opportunity to try to contain the spread of the virus, scale-up effectively the tracing of persons who had come into contact with infected persons, test them for the virus, and, if necessary, quarantine and isolate them for treatment, should they prove to be positive for the virus.

This decision to restrict movement has occasioned a number of severe difficulties for all of us across the country, especially for the poor and vulnerable, and not only for those resident in the affected areas. Let me express my gratitude to all of you for bearing with Government, all health workers, and with members of our security services, throughout this period. I requested all of us to sacrifice for our collective good, and we have been doing just that.

I thank all our healthcare workers, the men and women of our security services, and members of the media, for the work they are doing in helping to combat the spread of the virus. Let me also thank the individuals and organisations who have made contributions to the COVID-19 National Trust Fund. It is truly appreciated.

Fellow Ghanaians, since the first two (2) cases of infections were recorded on our shores, we have, till date, traced some eighty-six thousand (86,000) contacts, out of which we have test results of sixty-eight thousand, five hundred and ninety-one (68,591) contacts. There is, thus, a backlog of some eighteen thousand (18,000) tests whose results are yet to be received. The overwhelming majority of these contacts have been established in the last three weeks of the partial lockdown in Accra and Kumasi. Out of this number, one thousand and forty-two (1,042) persons, i.e. 1.5%, have been confirmed as positive, with sixty seven thousand, five hundred and forty-nine (67,549), i.e. 98.5%, testing negative; ninety-nine (99) persons have recovered and have been discharged; and nine hundred and thirty (930) persons, who have been isolated, are responding to treatment either in their homes or in treatment facilities. These nine hundred and thirty (930) persons, after their treatment, will soon undergo the mandatory two (2) tests to determine if they have also recovered from the virus or otherwise.

The main reason our country has seen an increase in the number of confirmed cases over the last three (3) weeks is because of the decision we took aggressively to trace and test contacts of infected persons. This has enabled us to identify and isolate infected persons, protect the population from further infections, and contain better the spread of the virus. Indeed, Ghana is the only other country in Africa to have conducted more than sixty thousand tests, and we are ranked number one (1) in Africa in administering of tests per million people.

The decision to impose restrictions on movement was backed by the data at hand, and our next course of action, again, is backed by data and by science. Indeed, 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.

It is important to state, at the very onset, that scientists at the University of Ghana have successfully sequenced genomes of the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, obtaining important information about the genetic composition of viral strains in fifteen (15) of the confirmed cases in Ghana. This is a significant milestone in Ghana’s response to the pandemic, as it will strengthen surveillance for tracking mutations of the virus, and aid in the tracing of the sources of community infections in people with no known contact with confirmed cases. The Ghanaian scientific community is to be warmly applauded for this advance and contribution to global knowledge. Their work makes us proud to be Ghanaian, and, who knows, God may work through them to discover a vaccine. What a triumph that would be! Indeed, the recent genomic characterisation of African Coronaviruses by our own scientists illustrates the need to establish the enabling framework for sustainable vaccine manufacturing in Africa. We must advance African-led partnerships to drive scientific innovations for the control of viral diseases by vaccination. Ghana, recognising this critical public health tool, will support the African Vaccine Manufacturing Initiative, which is chaired by Noguchi’s Prof William Ampofo, to promote the agenda for vaccine development and manufacturing in Africa by Africans for the world.

Government has also introduced the use of drones to expedite the transportation of samples to laboratory centres. On Friday, 17th April, for example, fifty-one (51) samples were delivered from the Omenako Drone Distribution Centre to Noguchi. Furthermore, we are introducing rapid results testing to augment our surveillance and enhanced contact tracing efforts, so that we can quickly isolate and treat confirmed cases.

From the sixty-eight thousand, five hundred and ninety-one (68,591) samples tested, we have been able to understand better the dynamism of the virus, map out its geographic footprint, and establish current and potential hotspots. We have also been able to isolate and educate asymptomatic carriers, and, thereby, help minimise the spread of the virus.

So far, it has been established that the virus was imported into our midst from foreign shores, and is being spread through person to person contact. The majority of persons infected in Ghana have mild to no symptoms at all, whilst a very small number have required hospital treatment, out of which nine (9) persons, with underlying ailments, have died.

Towards treatment, we have expanded and added to our network of COVID19 treatment centers, with the Ga East and Bank of Ghana Hospitals being one hundred percent (100%) dedicated to the fight. In addition, we have set aside separate COVID-19 treatment centres at the University of Ghana Medical School Hospital, the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi South Hospital, and in other designated Regional and District Hospitals.

Last Friday, I was honoured to do the virtual sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of a 100-bed Infectious Disease and Isolation Facility at the Ga
East Municipal Hospital, which is being funded through a public-private partnership, under the leadership of the Ghana COVID-19 Private Sector Fund., and whose construction, with the assistance of the 48-Engineer Regiment of the Ghana Armed Forces, will be completed in six (6) weeks. Members of the Private Sector Fund have, indeed, acted like citizens, and not spectators, in these testing times for our country, and their patriotism is to be loudly praised.

We have also scaled up the domestic production of personal protective equipment, and our health care facilities, so far, have taken delivery of fourteen thousand, five hundred and fifty (14,550) scrubs, eleven thousand, nine hundred (11,900) gowns, nineteen thousand, nine hundred and eighty (19,980) head covers, two hundred and sixty three thousand, two hundred and eighty one (263,281) nose masks, thirteen thousand, and two (13,002) N-95 nose masks. Forty-one thousand, one hundred and seventeen (41,117) varying sizes of sanitizers have also been produced locally and delivered to our health facilities.
The enhancement of our capacity to test has been made possible by the dedication of the expanded teams at Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research, and the National Public Health Reference Laboratory. Further, we are making significant investments in the laboratories at the Veterinary Laboratory, Accra, the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research Laboratory, Accra, the Police Hospital, the 37 Military Hospitals, the University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ho, the Veterinary Services Department in Sekondi-Takoradi, the Public Health Laboratory in Tamale, the War Memorial Hospital in Navrongo and the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, so they can also use PCR Technology. We are recalibrating one hundred (100) Regional and District Tuberculosis Gene Expert Laboratories across the country, to help ensure that we have a minimum situation of one testing centre per region.

Fellow Ghanaians, in view of our ability to undertake aggressive contact tracing of infected persons, the enhancement of our capacity to test, the expansion in the numbers of our treatment and isolation centres, our better understanding of the dynamism of the virus, the ramping up of our domestic capacity to produce our own personal protective equipment, sanitisers and medicines, the modest successes chalked at containing the spread of the virus in Accra and Kumasi, and the severe impact on the poor and vulnerable, I have taken the decision to lift the three (3) week old restriction on movements in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area and Kasoa, and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area and its contiguous districts, with effect from 1am on Monday, 20th April. In effect, tomorrow will see the partial lockdown in Accra and Kumasi being lifted.

I must make it clear, at the outset, that lifting these restrictions does not mean we are letting our guard down. All other measures are still firmly in place. For the avoidance of doubt, the earlier measures announced on Wednesday, 15th March, which have been extended, are still very much in force, and have not been relaxed. I am demanding even greater adherence to these measures.

In here, I am referring to the suspension of all public gatherings, including conferences, workshops, funerals, parties, nightclubs, drinking spots, beaches, festivals, political rallies, religious activities and sporting events. All educational facilities, private and public, are to remain closed. Businesses and other workplaces can continue to operate, observing staff management and workplace protocols with the view to achieving social distancing and hygiene protocols.

Operators of public transport, including our buses, trotros and taxis, are to continue to run with a minimum number of passengers, as they have been doing for the last three weeks in maintaining social distancing. They must also continue to ensure the maintenance of enhanced hygienic conditions in all vehicles and terminals, by providing, amongst others, hand sanitizers, running water and soap for washing of hands. Domestic airlines are required to adhere to the same protocols.

The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, together with Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, will continue to implement measures to enhance conditions of hygiene in markets across the country, and expand the policy of alternate-days-for-alternative-products to improve social distancing in all markets.

As has been established, the overwhelming majority of confirmed cases have come from travellers or from people who have come into contact with travellers. It is, therefore, incumbent on us to continue to be vigilant about travelers into our country until further notice, and to congratulate the men and women of the Immigration Service and the Marine Police Unit for their work in securing our borders. The arrest of ten (10) West African nationals in Tamale who all tested positive for the virus; the arrest of the six (6) Nigerian travellers who entered Ghana through unapproved routes along the Ghana-Togo border near Aflao, who also tested positive for the virus; and the recent arrest of ten (10) fishermen in the Western Region, who returned from Cote d’ivoire and have been quarantined, testify to the determination of our security services to protect our borders. I have, thus, signed an Executive Instrument, to extend the closure of our borders for two (2) more weeks, beginning Monday, 20th April.

Like the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently advised, I want to encourage you to wear a mask wherever you go, as it will help you not to contract the virus, and keep it clean. If you own a business, or are providing a service, i.e. a barber, a hairdresser, a tailor, a taxi driver, a trotro driver and his ‘mate’, a shop keeper, a food seller, please do well to use a mask. The Ministry of Health will very soon issue guidelines on face masks for public use.

I entreat religious, traditional, community and opinion leaders to partner with government in engaging, mobilising and enforcing adherence to social distancing and personal hygiene practices in their respective communities. As difficult as it may be, I encourage all bereaved persons to conduct private burials of their loved ones, but ensure that the twenty-five (25) person limit is not breached. Indeed, some are burying their loved ones now, in order to have the final funeral rites later. The morgues in the country are becoming full, and will, in themselves, soon pose a public health hazard. So, let us act quickly on this.

As the days go by, and as we continue to sustain a grip on the rapid spread of the virus, the systematic easing of these restrictions will be undertaken to bring life back to normalcy. Definitely, we will continue to record new cases of infections, particularly with our policy of aggressive tracing and testing. However, I want to assure you that Government has put in place the appropriate measures to isolate and treat them. Should there be an unexpected outburst in infections within a community, I have put the health workers and the security services, including the Police Service and the Armed Forces, on standby, to co-ordinate a rapid response of human and logistical resources, if necessary, to cordon, impose a curfew, trace, test, and treat infected persons in the affected community. Indeed, the focus of Government’s policy and action will be based on the implementation of the 3Ts, i.e. tracing, testing and treating. In any event, stay at home, unless it is absolutely essential.

The movement of foodstuffs will continue from producing areas to the markets, and, with the intervention of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, the markets would be better organised for the sale of foodstuffs.

Fellow Ghanaians, as we fight to halt the spread of the virus, we are also engaged in fights on two other fronts – fights we must equally win.

Firstly, there continues to be the deliberate dissemination of fake news, disinformation and outright lies by some unpatriotic citizens about the spread of the virus since its outbreak in the country. These acts are being orchestrated by those who hope to benefit by seeking to sow the seeds of panic and confusion amongst the populace at this time of national crisis. I have an unequivocal message for those involved in these despicable acts – put an immediate stop to it, or be held accountable for your actions.

Secondly, as has been aptly stated by the Ghana Medical Association, being infected by the Coronavirus is not necessarily a death sentence. I have noticed, with great concern, the stories of some persons, who have recovered from the virus, now being confronted with another problem, i.e. stigmatization. This is not right, as it will rather drive people away from getting screened, tested and treated. The stigmatization of recovered persons must stop, because if the virus did not end their lives and livelihoods, the stigma from members of their communities should not.

I know the effects of the measures to contain the virus have been difficult for many, and that is why I mandated the creation of the GH¢1.2 billion Coronavirus Alleviation Programme to support households and businesses. Out of this amount, two hundred and eighty million cedis (GH¢280 million) is being used to provide food for the vulnerable and free water for all
Ghanaians for three (3) months, i.e. April, May and June, three hundred and twenty three million cedis (GH¢323 million) is being used to motivate our health workers, and six hundred million cedis (GH¢600 million) of assistance is being provided to micro, small and medium-scale businesses. I expect disbursements of the six hundred million cedis to start in May. Further, Government is fully absorbing electricity bills for one million active lifeline customers, and is granting a fifty percent (50%) subsidy on electricity bills of all other customers, using their March 2020 bill as their benchmark, for the months of April, May and June. In total, the relief on electricity will amount to some one billion cedis (GH¢1.02 billion).

Again, Government, through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture through the National Buffer Stock Company, in collaboration with the MMDCEs and the District Disaster Management Committees, has provided over 2.5 million cooked food packs to vulnerable persons in the affected districts of Accra and Kumasi. Dry food packs have also been distributed, in collaboration with the faith-based organisations, to four hundred and seventy thousand (470,000) families in the same areas, as against the original target of four hundred thousand (400,000). I express my profound gratitude to the private sector and faithbased organisations, and traditional authorities for their support in this endeavour. I also commend highly the many individuals and private organisations who, on their own, organised hot meals and fed a number of vulnerable people within the restricted areas. To these individuals, ayekoo for being good neighbours to your fellow Ghanaians.

As we continue to battle this pandemic, it is imperative we plan to restore Ghana onto a sound economic footing, and create a path towards growth and transformation. The recent one billion United States dollar Rapid Credit Facility, secured from the IMF, without any precondition, and approved by Parliament, will be used to help close the financing gap that has been created by the pandemic through shortfalls in revenues and additional expenditures. I welcome the three billion cedi (GH¢3 billion) credit and stimulus package from the commercial banks, with the support of the Bank of Ghana, to revitalise industries, especially in the pharmaceutical, hospitality, services, and manufacturing sectors. The Minister for Finance, that hardworking, outstanding national treasurer, together with his counterpart in South Africa, as co-Chairs of the Committee of African Finance Ministers, have been leading a Pan-African effort to bring debt relief to the continent in these difficult times. Last Friday, they achieved a nine-month debt standstill from the World Bank for all qualifying members of the International Development Association (IDA), starting from 1st May, 2020, totalling some forty-four billion United States dollars ($44 billion) for the countries of Africa. In the case of Ghana, this amounts to a freeze in principal and interest payments for the year, amounting to some five hundred million United States dollars ($500 million). This will create greater fiscal space to help make the Ghanaian economy much more resilient. I have charged the Finance Minister to leave no stone unturned to achieve an even greater and comprehensive debt relief programme for Africa.

Our success in defeating the virus is largely within our control. That means each and every one of us must exercise, at all times, during this period without the partial lockdown in Accra and Kumasi, a strong sense of selflessness, self-control and self-discipline.

It is important to stress strongly that coming out of the partial lockdown in Accra and Kumasi does not mean we are out of the pandemic. We will continue to monitor closely events in some hotspots in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area like Weija Gbawe, Ga East, and Ayawaso East Municipalities, and Tema Metropolis, and in the Eastern Region, like Asuoygaman and Lower Manya Krobo Districts. Whenever the situation so warrants, a community in which the virus is identified as becoming prevalent will be locked-down, until there is a clear understanding of the trajectory of the virus that will allow us to contain it.

We must obey the measures still in place, including the new ones, because we know our survival depends on them, and, the harder we are on ourselves in obeying them, the quicker and more enduring will be the victory.

To Ghanaians in all parts of the world, I urge you to remain steadfast in abiding by the rules and regulations that have been put in place by your host countries to combat the virus, and I extend the condolences of all your compatriots at home to all families abroad who have lost their loved ones to the virus. And, I take this opportunity to wish our High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Ireland, my good friend, Papa Owusu Ankomah, who has been affected by the virus, and other Ghanaians abroad who have been so-affected, a speedy recovery.

This disease is new, it is in plain evolution, and there is, therefore, as yet, no vaccine or cure. But we know enough to take action, and we shall be nimble and adapt as the situation changes. We will tailor our solutions to our unique social, economic and cultural conditions. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but I pledge to you that Government will do whatever is required, in our particular circumstances, to safeguard the lives of our people, and keep our economy going.

Discipline, self-discipline, is that strong bridge that all of us, from the safety of our homes, in our workplaces, and in our communities, must build. We need to build a strong bridge of self-discipline in order for us to cross over from this difficult period of restrictions and the spread of the Coronavirus to the other side, where total freedom to go about our normal lives awaits us. To defeat the virus, and get there, we have to accept that we have to wash our hands, maintain good hygiene, refrain from shaking hands, wear our masks, and practice social distancing in all of our engagements.

Fellow Ghanaians, we are confronting one of the greatest challenges of our generation. We have to win this battle. We have to defeat the virus. It is our behaviour and response that will determine that. I have every confidence that, collectively, we, Ghanaians, have it in us to rise to the occasion and become victorious. I am very grateful for the great support you have given my Government and I, as we steer our country out of this crisis. Continue in unity to provide that support. This, too, shall pass, for the Battle is the Lord’s.

Me da moa se paa, mon kɔ so ntie masɛm, na yɛn nyinaa ndi nkunim.

Min da nyɛ shi waa, nyɛ yaa nɔ ni yɛ boa nwiemɔ tuɛ, koni wɔ fɛɛ wɔ ye nkuni.

May God bless us all, and our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.

I thank you for your attention, and have a good night.

Editorial: Covid-19 and Procurement method – Ebenezer Aidoo

As a procurement professional and actively practicing,what is Public procurement Authority’s decision on the appropriate method to be used? I recently sited a PPA publication on measures carried out to mitigate procurement processes in relation to best practice.

I also recently sited a publication from UK procurement authority on the method to use, in accordance with Act 663 as amended ,several methods have been outlined and most of the methods are applicable with face to face meeting with appropriate suppliers, contractors and services providers. What measures is PPA adhering to during this difficult time?

As the President stated we are not in normal time. In my view, many activities ongoing requires procurement process, is PPA aware and what are they doing?

Are the board meeting in granting approvals to this method of Single source? If the the board are meeting then what about the President’s directive on social distancing, cancellation of conferences and other social activities?

I’m asking in accordance with section 40 and 41 of Act 663 as amended. Are we to practice single sources as a method which is applicable?

Then who grants the approvals in relation to the President’s directive as stated in the Executive instrument EI.

JUST MY VIEW
STAY AT HOME AND BE SAFE

Ebenezer K. Aidoo
024197167

Update 7: Prez Akufo-Addo speaks tonight on measures taken in fighting Covid-19

The President of the Republic, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will tonight address the nation and give update on the fight against novel Covid-19 pandemic and things the government has put in place in fighting the disease.

The President on Friday 10th April 2020 announced a seven day partial lockdown extension which ends tonight, and some electricity tariffs relief for the good people of Ghana.

Most Ghanaians are anticipating either an extension of the partial lockdown or the country going under total lockdown for God knows how long.

Few other are equally pleading that the lockdown should be over so they can go ahead with their daily duties.

Whether the country will undergo any of the above, the President is expected to address the nation at 20:00GMT, if nothing comes up, and all shall be known.

“Kick Coronavirus Away” – Senior Taekwondo Athlete Davidson joins Coronavirus Campaign

Ghana’s -80Kg athlete, Michael Nii Armah Davidson has joined many athletes across the globe in the campaign to fight against the deadly Coronavirus in Ghana and the World at large with the hashtag, #KickCoronavirusAway.

With Presidential directive to suspend all sporting activities after Ghana’s first 2 cases early March and further suspension of many Championships across the globe, Michael in a Dobok showcased a Placard with the Caption ‘Let Pray for the World against CoronaVirus’

Michael among other athletes in Ghana had plans to participate in International Open Championships after participating at the 8th Fujairah Open in Dubai in January.

Nii Armah with his caption, is believing in God and Trusting that Prayers can work the Miracle of wiping away Covid19 from the earth in an interview with TalksenseSports.

“We all know it’s difficult times for the country and the world at large. And I believe most of us have faith in God. He’s the creator of Heaven and Earth and knows everything. We only have to be fervent in Prayers to #KickCoronaVirusAway.”

“Apart from the national Prayers that was observed, we must all individually Pray and God will listen to us because we as athletes need to be alive to compete,” Davidson added.

The Ghana Taekwondo Federation started the year with a School 2 School Taekwondo Campaign and have several activities for the year.

Michael, whose personal training at the beach has been shattered has however called on other national athletes to join the campaign and help #KickCoronavirusAway.

Ghana has so far recorded 834 cases, with 99 recoveries and 9 death.

#KickCoronavirusAway
#FightCovid
#StayAtHome
#SpreadCalmNotFear
#SupportGHTkd 🥋🇬🇭 💪🏽

By: Davis Nii Attuquaye Clottey, PRO for Ghana Taekwondo Federation

Lockdown: Soldier shoots 50yrs-old man at covid19 checkpoint for using unauthorized route

A military man on operation covid-19 safety duties has shot at a 50-year-old motor rider for allegedly using unapproved route at a barrier at Dobro in the Nsawam Adoagyir Municipality of the Eastern Region.

According to the police, report from the security personnel a

t the said barrier indicated that the motor rider refused several signals to stop when he attempted to use unapproved route.

He was said to have jumped a bamboo barricade at the barrier where the security officers were doing road snap checks and nearly ran into some military men there.

In attempt to stop the rider, the police said, the unnamed military man aimed at the back tyre of the motorbike and shot at it.

He then fell with the motor and sustained injuries in the process.

He was rushed to the Nsawam Government Hospital for medication attention.

Briefing 3news.com on the Friday morning incident, the Nsawam Divisional Police Commander Sup Marian Adu- Osei said the rider in his oral statement claimed his brakes failed him for which reason he could not stop when signaled to.

She said investigations have commenced to establish the true facts of the incident.

Meanwhile, health officials are awaiting an X-ray results to ascertain whether the man suffered from the gunshot.

Source: 3news.com

Too few patients, so China is canceling Covid-19 clinical trials

China has evidently done such a fantastic job of containing the spread of the coronavirus that it’s now having a hard time finding patients for clinical trials.

Doctor Zhong Nanshan, the respiratory specialist who leads a group of experts advising the Chinese government’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak, has said 45 trials have been canceled in China, mainly due to lack of test subjects.

“No one expected that China would control the epidemic so quickly,” Zhong said. “There is currently no opportunity for large-scale clinical drug and treatment-related research in China.”

Since the outbreak began, China has approved a total of 594 clinical trials, a number that Zhong touted as being much higher than during the SARS epidemic when he says that researchers were focused on finding a treatment rather than doing studies and publishing papers.

Zhong added that China had now contained the initial coronavirus outbreak and was doing well combatting a potential second wave.

China has reported more than 84,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 4,642 deaths caused by the epidemic.

Ghana records 99 recoveries as coronavirus cases jump to 834

16 more people have trumped the Coronavirus and have been discharged to their homes, bringing to total 99 recoveries.
The number of Coronavirus cases has, however, surged to 834 with an additional death recorded.
According to the Health Service, the new figures are part of the completion of a backlog of laboratory samples picked up for testing as part of the COVID-19 testing exercise.

Hence the new figures recorded do not represent new cases.

“…Some 57,000 samples already successfully tested as at April 15th 2020. In the first batch of this backlog, an additional 198 have been found to be positive. This will bring Ghana’s total case count to 834 at the moment. The general public is however advised that this does not represent new infections that are occurring. It represents results from tests of a backlog of samples,” part of the report by the health service read.

The laboratories have been working day and night to test this large number of samples. Hopefully in the next few days, all the testing would be completed.

Total samples tested so far now stands at 60, 916 with 1.37 % testing positive. The results of these backlog of samples when released does not mean the number of new cases recorded on the day of the report. Regions that have reported cases are Greater Accra, Ashanti, Eastern, Northern, Volta, Upper East, Upper West, Central, Western and North East.

The additional death recorded brings to total, 9 cases so far.

Covid-19 Update: Upper East Region records 4 new COVID-19 cases, one death

The Upper East region recorded four new cases of confirmed COVID-19 bringing the total number of confirmed cases to eight.

COVID-19The laboratory feedback was received on Thursday, 16 April 2020.

Of the four cases, three are contacts of the first confirmed case and for the first time, one of the cases was detected through routine surveillance in the Bawku Municipality.

However, the case in Bawku passed on before the laboratory results were received from the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research.

A statement issued by the Regional Health Directorate and signed by the Regional Director, Dr. Winfred Ofosu, said the region is not leaving any stone unturned and called on the public to continue cooperating for a successful fight against the spread of COVID-19 in the region.

Supposed Jubilee House worker crushes police barrier during inspection at East Legon

This morning around 10:35GMT, a Lady (Name withheld) who claim to be working at The Jubilee House drove on police barrier at East Legon, because the police officers were inspecting her ID card, with her Hyundai Santafe with registration number GE 2309-18.

According to the info at hand at the moment, the Lady in question had her glass rolled up so the police officer (An inspector) requested that she pulls down the glass for proper inspection of the ID card. The officer who was standing at the right side of the vehicle (Passenger side at the front) decided to come to her on the other side and the lady drove off the officer’s foot.

Before she took on the wheel on the officer’s foot, she rained unprintable insult on the officers on duty for delaying her, to the extent of telling them their being there is “Useless”

The lady is currently in police custody whiles the officer is still receiving treatment. But as to whether she really works at the Jubilee House as she claims or not, investigations are still ongoing.

More soon…

From Trump vs WHO to countries battling coronavirus as global cases cross 2 million

The world has almost come to a standstill as global novel coronavirus cases crossed 2 million and over 131,000 people have died due to the deadly Covid-19.

The first death due to the novel coronavirus came in the central Chinese city of Wuhan on January 9. It took 83 days for the first 50,000 deaths to be recorded and just eight more for the toll to climb to 100,000. The toll has been accelerating at a daily rate of between 6-10 per cent over the past week.

Some countries, including the US, Italy, France, Spain and Britain are reporting that more than 10 per cent of all confirmed cases have been fatal.

Meanwhile, nations around the world reacted with alarm to news that US President Donald Trump put a halt to American payments to the World Health Organization, pending a review of its warnings about the coronavirus and China.

The European Union said Trump has “no reason” to freeze WHO funding at this critical stage and called for measures to promote unity instead of division. Meanwhile, a senior Russian official said Trump’s freeze on funding for the WHO is a selfish response to the global pandemic.

The head of the World Health Organization lamented the US decision to halt funding for the UN agency, promising a review of its decisions while sidestepping Donald Trump’s complaints about its alleged mismanagement, cover-up and missteps.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was on the defensive after Trump announced a halt to US funding that has totalled nearly a half-billion dollars annually in recent years. Trump claimed the WHO had parroted Chinese assurances about how the virus is spread, failed to obtain virus samples from China, and made a “disastrous decision” to oppose travel restrictions as the outbreak spread.

Here are few developments from across the world:

Trump to announce guidelines for reopening economy

US President Donald Trump said that data suggested the county had passed the peak on new infections with coronavirus, and said he would announce “new guidelines” for reopening the economy at a news conference on Thursday.

“It is clear that our aggressive strategy is working. The battle continues but the data suggests that nationwide we have passed the peak on new cases. These encouraging developments have put us in a very strong position to finalize guidelines for states on reopening the country,” Trump added.

Meanwhile, Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York residents will be required to wear face coverings when they are out in public and coming in close contact with other people.

The new outbreak-fighting mandate will require a mask or face covering on busy streets, subways, buses or any situation where people cannot maintain 6 feet of social distancing. The promised executive order from Cuomo echoes recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a way to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The order takes effect Friday, the governor said, and either a mask or a cloth covering such as a bandanna will work.

Germany sets out plan for cautious first steps to restart public life

Germany plans to let smaller shops reopen next week after a weeks-long coronavirus shutdown and to start reopening schools in early May, but Europe’s biggest economy is keeping strict social distancing rules in place for now.

After much-anticipated talks Wednesday with Germany’s 16 state governors, Chancellor Angela Merkel set out a plan for the first steps of a cautious restart of public life – following neighbouring Austria and Denmark and other countries in launching a slow loosening of restrictions. Germany has confirmed more than 130,000 coronavirus infections, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

New infections in Germany have slowed in recent weeks, but Angela Merkel cautioned that the country has achieved only “a fragile intermediate success” so far and doesn’t have “much room for maneuver.”

Angela Merkel said a ban on gatherings of more than two people in public and an obligation to keep at a 1.5-meter (five-foot) distance from others, which has been in place since March 23, will remain in place beyond Sunday when it was previously set to expire.

Nonessential shops, which have also have been closed for nearly four weeks, will be allowed to start reopening, with hygiene precautions, if they are up to 800 square meters (8,600 square feet) in area. So will auto showrooms, bike shops and bookshops, irrespective of their size.

Merkel said the decisions apply to the period from Monday through May 3, and officials will review the situation again on April 30.

Coronavirus deaths nearly double reported figures: Iran Parliament

The death toll in Iran from the coronavirus pandemic is likely nearly double the officially reported figures, due to undercounting and because not everyone with breathing problems has been tested for the virus, a parliament report said.

Iranian health officials offered no comment on the report, which represents the highest-level charge yet from within the Islamic Republic’s government of its figures being questionable, something long suspected by international experts.

Iran on Wednesday put the death toll at 4,777, out of 76,389 confirmed cases of the virus – still making it the Mideast’s worst outbreak by far.

UK coronavirus death toll rises to 12,868

Britain’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic rose to 12,868, a daily increase of 761, as the government announced new plans to modify its guidance to allow close relatives to say goodbye to their sick relatives in care homes across the country.

The latest official figures also reveal that 98,476 people have tested positive for the virus, of 313,769 who have been tested across the country.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government will introduce new procedures to “limit the risk of infection” and allow people to say goodbye to loved ones “wherever possible” during the daily Downing Street briefing.

Pakistan’s coronavirus cases cross 6,300; death toll 111

The number of coronavirus patients in Pakistan rose to 6,383, with 395 new confirmed cases and 11 deaths during the last 24 hours.

As Pakistan’s coronavirus cases rose to more than 6,300, a top minister said it is a “difficult situation” for the government which is fighting a war at different fronts including Covid-19, poverty, hunger and a weak economy.

“This is a difficult situation,” Planning Minister Asad Umar said while addressing a news conference along with PM’s aide on health Dr Zafar Mirza and adviser on national security Moeed Yusuf following a meeting of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) here.

“It is important to find a balance between slowing the spread of the virus and ensuring lower-income people don’t have to go hungry,” he said, adding that the country was “passing through a difficult situation.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan extended the lockdown till April 30 but allowed several industries to open up.

France urges top powers to endorse UN coronavirus cease-fire call

French President Emmanuel Macron said he hopes that “in the coming days” the five permanent members of the UN Security Council can discuss and endorse UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ call for a cease-fire to all conflicts in the world in order to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Macron, who has been pushing for more international cooperation in fighting the virus, said in an interview with French radio RFI broadcast that he is only waiting for agreement from Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold the 5-country video conference.

Over 17,000 people have now died in France from Covid-19, a top health official said on Wednesday, but the total number currently hospitalised has fallen for the first time since the epidemic began.

Nurses suspended after refusing to treat coronavirus patients without N95 masks

A group of nurses has been suspended, after they refused to treat coronavirus patients without N95 masks.

The nurses, based at the Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California , refused to treat the patients, after one of their colleagues tested positive for Covid-19.

They had previously asked for more N95 masks to be supplied to them, but were told by hospital administrators that they were not necessary, according to the Associated Press.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the use of N95 masks for healthcare professionals, as it “filters at least 95% of airborne particles”.

The National Nurses Union told the AP that the nurses have been suspended.

The 10 nurses are still being paid, but are not allowed to return to work until an investigation into their actions is completed.

Angela Gatdula, the nurse who tested positive, told the AP that hospital managers said that they were following CDC guidelines by only offering nurses surgical masks.

Ms Gatdula tested positive for coronavirus shortly after she questioned the practice, and told the outlet that “when I got the phone call that I was positive I got really scared”.

She is hoping to go back to work next week, but added that “the next nurse that gets this might not be lucky. They might require hospitalisation. They might die”.

In a statement, the health centre said that “it’s no secret there is a national shortage”.

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University , the US has upwards of 639,733 people have tested positive for coronavirus. The death toll has reached at least 30,990.

Covid-19: Man who tested positive for coronavirus on the run in Upper West

A man who tested positive for Covid-19 – the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus – in the Upper West Region, is at large.

The 46-year-old Nigerian, Simon Okafor Chukudi, tested positive for coronavirus on Monday but has since disappeared from his residence at Wapaani, a suburb of the regional capital, Wa after health authorities informed him about his status.

Upper West Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Osei Kufuor Afreh, who confirmed the incident to JoyNews’ Rafiq Salam said the Nigerian is one of the region’s imported Covid-19 cases.

“Five out of the new cases were people who came from abroad, including one Nigerian and one person from the Western region.

“But unfortunately for us, one of our confirmed cases cannot be traced. Having given him feedback on his test results, it has been very difficult to reach him,” Dr Afreh added.

He explained that health professionals had planned to transport Chukudi to the regional isolation centre but have tried to no avail to get in touch with him.

“For almost 48 hours now, it has been difficult to reach him,” he stated.

Regional Police Commander, DCOP Francis Aboagye Nyarko, said a search party has already been dispatched to hunt for the Nigerian.

He is hopeful that Chukudi will be found in the shortest possible time.

Upper West is one of the 10 regions affected by Covid-19 with seven cases.

Source: myjoyonline.com

COVID-19: Pregnant Ghanaian nurse dies in the UK, baby survives

A pregnant Ghanaian nurse based in the United Kingdom has died after contracting the Coronavirus disease.

Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, 28, who worked as a nurse on a general ward at the Bedfordshire Hospital for five years died at the Luton & Dunstable hospital on Easter Sunday.

Her baby girl was successfully delivered after an emergency caesarean section and is doing well, according to the hospital.
According to the Guardian, Mary tested positive for the virus on 5 April and had the caesarean soon after going into hospital on 7 April but died on Sunday.
The hospital said she had finished her last shift on 12 March, and had not been at work since then, adding that they had followed official guidance and she was not treating coronavirus patients.

It is not known if she was infected when she was still working or if the baby has contracted Covid-19. It is understood her husband is self-isolating.

Her colleagues at Luton and Dunstable University hospital said she was “a fabulous nurse, and a great example of what we stand for”. The NHS trust’s chief executive, David Carter, said the survival of her baby daughter was a “beacon of light at this very dark time”

Suhum MP donates to Orphanages

“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” Harold S. Kushner.

The member of Parliament for Suhum, Hon. Frederick Opare-Ansah donated assorted items to all the orphanage facilities under his county.

Celebrating the Easter monday with the less privileged, the member of parliament and his entourage arrived at Jehova Rapha Orphanage in Suhum, where he interacted with both staff and the children. There, he re-affirmed his commitment towards improving upon the lives of the less privileged and the vulnerable within the enclaves of Suhum Constituency. He ended his speech by offering them some juicy packages for the Easter period and precautionary materials to aide them respond to the fight against the coronavirus disease with the needed confidence.

The Trotor Baptist Orphanage wasn’t left out, the hardworking member of Parliament together with his team further went to the Trotor Baptist Orphanage where he dined with them, donated Easter packages and some precautionary items too. He encouraged all and sundry to adhere to safety measures being put in place by the Ministry of Health and government to help mitigate the spread of the novel virus.

In all, Hon. Frederick Opare-Ansah donated 20 bags of rice, 200 pieces of tissues, 20 crates of soft beverages, 2 Veronica buckets, 4 gallons of hand washing soap, 4 gallons of alcohol based sanitizers, 100 pieces of cooked and packed rice, 50 boxes of biscuits, 20 boxes of cake biscuits and 100 pieces of fairly used clothing.

Hon. Frederick Opare-Ansah on his motivation for the gesture, he elaborated on his intrinsic call to make life easy-living for the very people who voted him to serve their interests. He vouched his continuous support towards making the lives of the less privileged and vulnerable under his county a better one.

Issued by
Augustine Odei
Director of Communications NPP, Suhum
0240195970

Covid19: Dr Bawumia launches Covid-19 Tracker App. Follow these steps to download

Ghana’s Ministry of Communications in partnership with iQuent Technologies Ascend Digital Solution has launched the COVID-19 Tracker App.
Although the app is not available on the Stores, the ministry has stated that it will be available in the Google Play Store and the App Store later this week.
According to the Vice President, the app will help to track telephone numbers that are apparently or recently have been in certain countries around the world. The Ghana immigration service will use this information to determining who to provide an extra layer of screening.
The COVID-19 Tracker app is also said to be useful in quarantine reliability to assess if certain individuals who are required to self-quarantine are actually doing that as a measure to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases in Ghana.
The Tracker App this is yet another weapon yet deployed to fight the novel Coronavirus.
Ghana is one of the few countries in the world to deploy such an app and it will give the Government advance information and allow the responsible institutions to respond quickly to COVID-19 related issues.
Dr Bawumia said: “If you look at the current spread of the pandemic, it suggests that the virus has a mind of all. It will, therefore, require innovative ideas such as the application of technology to deal with this fundamental. If Ghana hopes to flatten the curve or to stop the surgeon numbers of people being infected.”
How to download the COVID-19 Tracker App in Ghana
  1. Visit the official COVID-19 Tracker App (25 MB) – ghcovid19.com
  2. Accept the Terms & Conditions to download and use GH COVID-19 Tracker App
  3. Click on the blue “download” text to download the app for your Android Phone
  4. You will see the file downloading status on your phone
  5. When you click on “INSTALL”, you may be prompted to allow installation from unknown sources on your device.
  6. Allow the installation and wait for the COVID-19 Tracker App to install
  7. Your app will then be successfully installed
COVID-19 Tracker USSD option for Feature Phones
All those who don’t have a smartphone can access the USSD platform by dialling *769#.
Remember, the best strategy in fighting the pandemic is to stay at home and observe all the World Health Organizations and the Ghana health service protocols such as covering the mouth when coughing and sneezing as well as regularly washing your hands with and soap under running water.
Stay home stay safe. Download the app.

Covid19: India’s race against time to save doctors

India needs more PPE kits for the safety of its doctorsIndia, like most parts of the world, is in a race against time to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) for the safety of its medical teams fighting to halt the spread of coronavirus.

The country has reported more than 8,500 coronavirus cases and at least 289 have died. The first 100 cases were mostly reported in cities, but now more people have tested positive in smaller towns and cities.

This has generated a huge demand for protective equipment for doctors and health workers across the country, and state governments are struggling to cope with it.

In some cases, doctors were forced to use raincoats and motorbike helmets .
One doctor, who is working in the state-run hospital in the northern city of Lucknow, said: “We are not getting PPE kits as fast as we should.”

Policemen say they also need PPE kits”This is really a war and we are being compared to soldiers. But you don’t send soldiers to fight a war without ammunition,” she told the BBC.

Several doctors and nurses have tested positive in cities like Delhi and Mumbai and the hospitals where they worked have been shut down .
This has raised serious concerns about the safety of frontline medical staff.

But PPE kits are also needed for law enforcement agencies who are helping health workers with contact tracing and the management of quarantine facilities.

A senior police officer in Uttar Pradesh told the BBC that policemen are also “directly exposed to the risk of coronavirus infection”.

“Recently a man who had tested positive ran away from a quarantine facility. The police had to bring him back. So, we also need to protect ourselves,” he said.

The policeman added that “we have PPE for now” but more will be “needed in the near future”.

Several state chief ministers have also said that more PPE are needed to protect emergency workers.

“We urgently need PPE kits and have written to the central government about it. I do not want the doctors and nurses to work without the protective gear,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal recently said.

India needs at least a million PPE kits, as well as 40 million N95 masks, 20 million surgical masks and a million litres of hand sanitisers at the moment, according to HLL Lifecare Limited, a government-owned body that has been tasked to procure PPE.

The federal ministry of health on 9 April said that it had placed orders for 17 million PPE kits – which is way more than the HLL Lifecare Limited’s estimates.

The ministry said it has approved 20 domestic manufacturers to produce protective gears.

But it’s unclear how quickly the manufacturers can meet the demand. The ministry said in a press release on 30 March that the suppliers were able to produce a total of 15,000 kits per day.

It also added that orders are being placed with foreign manufacturers from countries like Singapore and China, and some have come in the form of donations.

But the fear is that even this supply may not be enough if the pandemic spreads widely in smaller districts and towns.

Face shield prevents people from frequently touching their faceSeveral smaller firms and self-help groups have come forward to bridge the gap – but they are mostly making masks and face shields.

Maker’s Asylum, a collective that provides tools and space to designers, came up with the idea of face shields for frontline workers.

Richa Srivastava, the collective’s managing partner, said “we usually provide tools and space for designers”.

“But we took on manufacturing because the country needs it. The face shield stops people from touching their faces frequently,” she told the BBC.

Ms Srivastava added that they have activated 12 such labs across the country and have so far manufactured 100,000 face shields.

More domestic firms have now been asked to make PPEsWomen-led groups in several states, including Kerala in the south and Indian-administered Kashmir in the north, are also making cloth masks.

But it’s the production of medical-grade PPE that India desperately needs to ramp up.

Public health expert Anant Bhan told the BBC that the government should have taken decisions quickly.

“We knew in January that the pandemic was coming and we should have started stockpiling sooner,” he said.

The government released production specification for PPE only on 23 March.

Mr Bhan said that “it was too late for manufacturers” to quickly ramp up production.

“They need to source raw material and adjust production lines to meet the specification. And that takes time,” he said.

Experts say that there are other areas where the government can look into to meet the demand.

Rajiv Nath, of the Association of Indian Medical Device Industry, told the BBC that the government should import raw material quickly and sign up more manufacturers.

“Garment exporters, manufacturers of army uniforms should be roped in because specifications are now available,” he said.

But Mr Bhan feels it’s not going to be easy.

“It’s admirable that clothes-making factories are coming forward to help. But PPE manufacturing requires specific skills and expertise,” he said.

He added that quality control is the key because “there is no point in having bad PPEs”.

“This virus is highly contagious and the only defence medical teams have is good-quality PPEs,” he said.

Smaller firms are making masksBut quality control is not the only issue.

The country is in a complete lockdown. Exporters say it is difficult for them to get workforce and procure raw material.

Mr Bhan says that such “worries are real”.

“PPE manufacturing has to be taken as an emergency. Entire state machinery has to come together. Passes have to be given to factories and their workers so they can move easily,” he said. Ensuring supplies to remote corners of the country is another challenge.

Mr Bhan say there is no point in making PPE if they “can’t reach the one who need them the most”.

“It’s okay to compare our doctors with soldiers – but they shouldn’t be asked to make this heroic choice of going to work without proper protection,” he added.

“Covid-19 will not overcome us” – Queen tells UK in first-ever Easter Address

The Queen has issued what is believed to be her first-ever Easter message to tell the UK that “coronavirus will not overcome us”.

Elizabeth II also hinted at the importance of maintaining the lockdown during the bank holiday weekend, saying that “by keeping apart we keep others safe”.

It follows the monarch’s televised address to the nation about the coronavirus pandemic last Sunday, which ended with her telling the country that “we will meet again”.

With the Covid-19 outbreak making church services impossible, the Queen pre-recorded her new audio message at Windsor Castle on Good Friday.

“Many religions have festivals which celebrate light overcoming darkness,” the Queen begins.

“Such occasions are often accompanied by the lighting of candles. They seem to speak to every culture, and appeal to people of all faiths, and of none. They are lit on birthday cakes and to mark family anniversaries, when we gather happily around a source of light. It unites us.

“As darkness falls on the Saturday before Easter Day, many Christians would normally light candles together. In church, one light would pass to another, spreading slowly and then more rapidly as more candles are lit.

“It’s a way of showing how the good news of Christ’s resurrection has been passed on from the first Easter by every generation until now.

“This year, Easter will be different for many of us, but by keeping apart we keep others safe. But Easter isn’t cancelled; indeed, we need Easter as much as ever. The discovery of the risen Christ on the first Easter Day gave his followers new hope and fresh purpose, and we can all take heart from this. We know that coronavirus will not overcome us.

“As dark as death can be – particularly for those suffering with grief – light and life are greater. May the living flame of the Easter hope be a steady guide as we face the future. I wish everyone of all faiths and denominations a blessed Easter.”

Covid19: “We’ve recorded 31 new cases, 10 in critical condition” – Ayawaso North MCE confirms

The Municipal Chief Executive for Ayawaso North, Aminu Mohammed Zakari, has confirmed some 31 cases of Coronavirus in the constituency.

Citing information he received from a just-ended meeting in a live broadcast Sunday afternoon, he indicated that 10 of the recorded cases are in critical condition.

Areas including Newtown, Mamobi and Nima were mentioned as specific areas where the virus has affected.

Meanwhile, a brief released by the Ayawaso North Municipality on the development indicated that the new cases were resultant of a contact tracing exercise and subsequent testing.

“Through contact tracing and subsequent testing, the infected cases in Ayawaso North Municipality ( Mamobi East, Mamobi West and Kwao Tsuru/ Accra New Town, has risen from 2 cases as of last week, to 31 cases this afternoon

We are monitoring that of Ayawaso East Municipal” the brief said.

They further urged all persons within the said environs to stay home to avoid contracting the virus.

“Let us be very careful, stay at home please. We are monitoring that of Ayawaso East Municipal Assembly.”

Covid19: US overtakes Italy to have highest coronavirus death toll in the world after 2,000 deaths in a day

The United States has reached a grim milestone in the fight against coronavirus, passing Italy to become the country with the most deaths in the world.

A tally by Johns Hopkins University showed Saturday that 18,860 people have now died in the U.S. since the start of the outbreak. On Saturday, 2,108 people died in the U.S. in the past 24 hours – the first country in the world to record more than 2,000 deaths in a single day.

As a result, the U.S. has now overtaken Italy’s total of 18,849. It has recorded more than 503,000 cases.

President Akufo-Addo has extended the duration of the restrictions imposed under EI 64 and EI 65

President Akufo-Addo has signed the Executive Instrument (EI) extending the duration of the restrictions imposed under EI 64 and EI 65.

1. The restrictions imposed on public gatherings, under EI 64, have been extended for a further period of two (2) weeks, with effect from Monday, 13th April, 2020.

2. As announced already, the restrictions imposed on movement of persons in Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Kasoa, under EI 65, have been extended for a further period of one (1) week with effect from Monday, 13th April, 2020.

3. All other provisions, including all exemptions in EI 64 and EI 65, are still in full force and effect.

Covid19: India’s helping hand to the world – India Today

Covid-19: The bitter truth about using hydroxychloroquine as a preventive drug India Today. InsightIndia pledged $10 million towards a COVID-19 emergency fund and is putting together a rapid response team of doctors and specialists for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations as part of a Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led initiative

A look at how India is helping SAARC countries, in one graphic

Good News, as Paapa Owusu Ankomah Discharged from Intensive Care Unit

aobrempongnana.wordpress.com reported yesterday that Ghana’s ambassador to the UK, Papa Owusu Ankomah has tested positive to coronavirus.

The good news is Papa Owusu Ankomah is responding well to treatment MynewsGhana.net reports.

According to our sources, Papa Owusu Ankomah has been discharged earlier today. “Comforting news for him and his family and the whole of London Mission”.

The UK is currently among the top 10 countries with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases recording over 65,000 cases and more than 8,900 deaths.

About two days ago, the National Health Service (NHS) of the UK says Britain was the fifth country in the world with the highest coronavirus death toll.

source: mynewsghana.net

Covid19: Follow this excellent summary to avoid contagion – John Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University has sent this excellent summary to avoid contagion, share it because it is very clear:

1. The virus is not a living organism, but a protein molecule (DNA) covered by a protective layer of lipids (fats) which, if absorbed by the cells of the ocular, nasal or mouth mucosa, changes their genetic code. (mutation) and converts them into multiplier and attacker cells.

2. Since the virus is not a living organism but a protein molecule, it is not killed, but decays on its own. The disintegration time depends on the temperature, humidity and the type of material in which it is found.

3. The virus is very fragile; the only thing that protects it is a thin outer layer of fat. That’s why any soap or detergent is the best remedy, because the foam BREAKS THE GREASE (that’s why you have to rub so much: for at least 20 seconds or more, and make a lot of foam). By dissolving the fat layer, the protein molecule disperses and breaks down on its own.

4. HEAT melts the fat; then use water above 25 degrees to wash your hands, clothes and everything else. In addition, hot water produces more foam which makes it even more useful.

5. Alcohol or any mixture with alcohol greater than 65% DISSOLVES ANY FAT, especially the external lipid layer of the virus.

6. Any mixture with 1 part of bleach and 5 parts of water directly dissolves the protein, breaks it down from the inside.

7. Hydrogen peroxide helps a lot after soap, alcohol and chlorine, because peroxide dissolves the proteins of the virus, but you have to use it pure and it hurts the skin.

8. NO BACTERICIDES. The virus is not a living organism like bacteria; one cannot kill with antibiotics what is not alive, but rapidly disintegrate its structure with all that has been said.

9. NEVER shake used or unused clothing, sheets or clothing. While it is glued on a porous surface, it is very inert and disintegrates only between 3 hours (fabric and porous), 4 hours (copper, because it is naturally antiseptic; and wood, because it removes all moisture and does not let it detach and disintegrates), 24 hours (cardboard), 42 hours (metal) and 72 hours (plastic). But if you shake it or use a duster, the virus molecules float in the air for up to 3 hours and can settle in your nose.

10. Viral molecules remain very stable in external or artificial cold like air conditioners in homes and cars. They also need moisture to remain stable and especially darkness. Therefore, dehumidified, dry, warm and bright environments will degrade it more quickly.

11. UV LIGHT on any object that may contain it breaks the virus protein. For example, to disinfect and reuse a mask is perfect. Be careful, it also breaks down collagen (which is a protein) in the skin, eventually causing wrinkles and skin cancer.

12. The virus CANNOT go through healthy skin.

13. Vinegar is NOT useful because it does not break the protective layer of fat.

14. NO ALCOHOL or VODKA. The strongest vodka is 40% alcohol and you need 65%.

15. LISTERINA (it’s an American mouthwash) IF YOU NEED IT! It’s 65% alcohol.

16. The more space is limited, the higher the concentration of the virus. More open or naturally ventilated, less.

18. This is super said, but you have to wash your hands before and after touching the mucous membrane, food, locks, knobs, switches, remote control, cell phone, watches, computers, desks, TV, etc. And when using the bathroom.

19.You must HUMIDIFY DRY HANDS, for example wash them a lot, because molecules can hide in micro wrinkles or cuts. The denser the moisturizer, the better.

20. Also keep your SHORT NAILS, Shave off Bushy Beard, so that the virus doesn’t hide there.

Breaking News: Paapa Owusu Ankomah tested positive of covid19

Ghana’s High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland, Papa Owusu Ankomah has reportedly been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus.

Reports say Mr. Owusu Ankomah tested positive for the Covid-19 on Friday, April 10, 2020, and has been sent to the Intensive Care Unit in a London Hospital.

The Head of Ghana’s Mission in the UK and Ireland since June 2017, is, however, said to be responding to treatment.

Back home in Ghana, President Nana AKufo-Addo told the nation in a televised address Thursday night that the country’s tally now stands at 378 with six deaths while four individuals have made a full recovery of the deadly infection.

Address to the Nation by Prez Akufo-Addo, on updates to Ghana’s enhanced response to the covid19 pandemic

ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC,

NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO,

ON UPDATES TO GHANA’S ENHANCED RESPONSE TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, ON THURSDAY, 9TH APRIL, 2020.

Fellow Ghanaians, good evening.

Today is the sixth time I am coming into your homes since we begun our collective effort to combat the Coronavirus pandemic, and to implement measures aimed at containing and defeating it.

I have, first of all, to tell you how proud and privileged I am to be your President, not just to fight for you, but also to fight with you, and to help shepherd our country out of this crisis.

I said, in my last address, that Government’s policy in this entire drama will be largely driven by science. We will, as much as possible, be guided by the data, with our focus on the 3-Ts, i.e. tracing, testing and treatment. We now see that the decision to close down our borders has been justified. One hundred and five (105) of the confirmed cases came from those who were mandatorily quarantined and tested on their arrival on 21st and 22nd of March. One hundred and ninety-two (192) of the cases came from travelers, who entered our country before the closure, and their contacts. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of the three hundred and seventy-eight (378) confirmed cases are, thus, imported. Clearly, until we have the situation fully under control, we cannot, at this time, open our borders. They will have to remain shut until further notice.

Further, the partial lockdown of Accra and Kumasi has facilitated a more aggressive programme of enhanced contact tracing, with a total of four hundred and fifty (450) teams.

Thirty-seven thousand, four hundred and five (37,405) samples have been taken, of which thirty-one thousand, nine hundred and thirty-three (31,933) are in Accra, and five thousand, four hundred and seventy-two (5,472) are in Kumasi. As at Wednesday, 8th April, a total of fourteen thousand, six hundred and eleven (14,611) contacts of the samples collected have been tested for the virus in Accra and Kumasi. For Accra, eleven thousand, three hundred and eight (11,308) contacts were tested, and fifty-two (52), i.e. zero point four six percent (0.46%), of them were found to be positive. In Kumasi, three thousand and three hundred and three (3,303) contacts have been tested, and twenty-five (25), i.e. zero point seven six percent (0.76%) have been found to be positive. In total, seventy-seven (77) positive cases were recorded in Accra and Kumasi, representing zero point five three percent (0.53%) of the fourteen thousand, six hundred and eleven (14,611) tested.

Whilst the results are encouraging, in suggesting a limited number of positives and community spread, we expect to be able to test some ten thousand (10,000) additional samples in the coming week to give us a clearer picture to enable us take a decision on the way forward.

It appears that our common efforts have been modestly successful in containing the virus and minimising its spread. Undoubtedly, the decisions taken from day one (1) to act quickly and decisively, and, impose what may have seemed like harsh restrictions, have now proven to be effective, and have saved a lot of lives.

However, this fight is not yet over, and we are by no means out of the woods yet. As I said, we now have, in total, three hundred and seventy-eight (378) confirmed cases of infections, with six (6) deaths, four (4) recoveries, two (2) in critical condition, and the remaining three hundred and seventy (370) are mild cases, who are in isolation, and are either being managed at home or at treatment centres.

Fellow Ghanaians, I have come to you this evening to ask for your continued patience, as we continue to implement and extend the efforts that have, so far, proven to be helpful. It is important that we stay the course, and bear with the difficulties that come with it. The final result, hopefully, will be freedom from the virus.

So, the decision has been taken, through the issuance of an Executive Instrument, to extend the restrictions on movement in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area and Kasoa and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area and its contiguous districts by one more week, beginning 1am on Monday, 13th April, subject to review.

As part of measures to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on the social and economic life of the country, I indicated, in my last speech, that Government will absorb water bills for all Ghanaians for the next three months, i.e. April, May and June. Furthermore, water tankers, publicly and privately-owned, are being mobilised to ensure the supply of water to vulnerable communities. We have decided on further measures of mitigation for all Ghanaians for the next three months, i.e. April, May and June. Government will fully absorb electricity bills for the poorest of the poor, i.e. for all lifeline consumers, that is free electricity for persons who consume zero (0) to fifty (50) kilowatt hours a month for this period. In addition, for all other consumers, residential and commercial, Government will absorb, again, fifty percent (50%) of your electricity bill for this period, using your March 2020 bill as your benchmark. For example, if your electricity bill was one hundred cedis (GH¢100), you will pay only GH¢50, with Government absorbing the remaining fifty cedis (GH¢50). This is being done to support industry, enterprises and the service sector in these difficult times, and to provide some relief to households for lost income. Nevertheless, I urge all Ghanaians to exercise discipline in their use of water and electricity.

The food items being distributed in Accra and Kumasi to the vulnerable and needy are being done through NADMO and the MMDCEs, with the assistance of the faith-based organisations, to whom I am rendering a special word of gratitude.

I appeal to you, let us, in the meantime, continue to comply with the measures, let us maintain good hygiene and respect the social distancing protocols, even when you are going out to receive the food. But, above all, please stay at home. There have been unfortunate incidents of some persons, in some parts of the affected areas, where the restrictions are in force, flouting the regulations and continuing with the business-as-usual attitude, even to the extent of confronting members of the security services. That should not be countenanced. The law must be upheld, and it will be. I take no delight in announcing these restrictions, however, let us all remember that they have been put in place for our collective good.

The fight against Coronavirus has served as a humbling reminder of the things that matter, the things that cannot be bought, and the things that, all too often, go unappreciated, as a result of the stress of daily life. I refer to the health of those we love; the freedom to work and to congregate; the luxury of spontaneity; and the simple comfort of a handshake or a hug. These are the blessings of normalcy that we are fighting to restore, blessings that we must hold onto with a deeper sense of appreciation, once this pandemic has passed.

I express, on all our behalves, our gratitude for the assistance given to us by the Governments of the People’s Republic of China, the United States of America, the African Union, the African Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Union, and the Jack Ma Foundation. We appreciate their expression of solidarity. A friend in need is a friend indeed. I thank also all those who have made donations and contributions into the COVID-19 National Trust Fund for this kind gesture.

Fellow Ghanaians, today is Maundy Thursday, and tomorrow, a few hours from now, Friday, 10th April, Good Friday, is the start of Easter, which, for us Christians, commemorates the unique sacrifice that our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, made for our salvation on the cross of Calvary. The season is a good opportunity for all of us to reflect on that ultimate sacrifice, and for each one of us also to make a sacrifice for the sake of humanity’s survival.

We are used to attending Easter Conventions, making-merry, visiting friends and family, and having a good time. Yes, like a lot of you, I was also looking forward to visiting Kwahu during this time of the year, which I have been doing for several years. However, I am urging all of us to do the exact opposite of what we have been used to for many years. Stay at home. I ask you to keep your distance from your parents, grandparents and extended family, and celebrate this holiday apart. Do not host a big family gathering, and sternly refuse to attend one if you are invited. Your relatives will understand you are doing this out of love for them. Please, make that sacrifice.

Mesrɛ mo, asɛm aa makai, mondi su. Me ma mo afehyia pa

Min kpa nyɛ fai, nibii ni nkɛ, nyɛ ye nɔ. Afi oo afi.

So, on behalf of my beautiful Rebecca, my children, grandchildren and entire family, and members of Government, I wish you all a joyous and happy Easter, even if a restrained one. And, let me extend a special Easter goodwill message to our amazing health workers and to the members of our security agencies for their patriotic efforts.

May God bless us all, and our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.

Have a good evening, enjoy the holidays, and I thank you for your attention.