President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has temporarily suspended all foreign travels for all public officials as part of measures to prevent the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
The directive affects all sector ministers and their deputies, regional ministers and their deputies, metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDAs), as well as heads of government agencies and the Chief of Staff.
A circular issued by the Chief of Staff at the Office of the President, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, and addressed to all government appointees, stressed that “only essential and critical foreign travels will be considered and, thereafter, approved”.
It said the directive, together with other measures being put in place by the government, was intended to protect the public from contracting the virus and urged all appointees to take note and comply.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that as of Tuesday, March 10, 2020, the world had recorded 109,577 cases, with 3,809 deaths.
In Italy, with a population of about 60 million, the movement of the entire population has been restricted due to the widespread nature of the virus in the country.
Italy is the second country after China to record the highest number of cases, with 9,172 confirmed cases, and 463 deaths.
Five senior US Republicans have quarantined themselves after coming into contact with a person who tested positive for coronavirus.
They are all members of Congress, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
They have self-isolated themselves after they shook hands with an infected individual at a conference.
Currently, there are more than 700 confirmed cases in the US and 26 people have so far died.
Point of entry
Last Wednesday, President Akufo-Addo visited the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) and two hospitals earmarked for the quarantine and isolation of persons suspected of COVID-19.
He described Ghana’s preparedness as satisfactory and urged Ghanaians to “keep our fingers crossed”.
The President said he had inspected facilities, processes and personnel earmarked for the detection, quarantine and treatment of the virus at the KIA, the Tema General Hospital and the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Ridge, all in Accra.
At the KIA, President Akufo-Addo, who had returned from a European tour, went through the health screening process and was declared fit by the health officials at the arrival area.
Stop shaking hands
It will be recalled that at the 63rd Independence Day celebration in Kumasi on March 6, 2020, President Akufo-Addo admonished Ghanaians to stop shaking hands completely and cover their mouths when they coughed and sneezed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
He described the disease as a medical crisis that was wreaking havoc on human life, bringing about economic difficulties and spreading fear and panic throughout the world.
He assured Ghanaians that in the early days of the outbreak, he had constituted a high-powered emergency response team to handle the crisis and the team had since been monitoring developments and reporting to him on a daily basis.
He said strict checks and rigorous screening procedures were being conducted at the country’s points of entry, while isolation and treatment centres had been designated for potential cases and a quarantine centre set up.
He announced that 5,000 personal protective equipment for health workers had been procured and distributed to all regions and major health facilities, points of entry, teaching hospitals, treatment centres and selected health facilities.
The President said additional protective health equipment was being procured, together with the ongoing training of health workers in the treatment of the disease, as part of the measures to prepare the country for any eventuality.
He announced that in the interim, non-essential travels to Ghana were being strongly discouraged from high-risk countries, namely, China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea, adding: “We are counting on the experts to do their part to safeguard us, but we all have a responsibility to take measures to help ourselves and one another.”
He advised Ghanaian to heed the recommendations of health officials to practise personal hygiene and be extra careful with sanitation and also abide by the advice from the Ministry of Health for Ghanaians to revisit their custom of shaking hands and stop doing so completely.
The President said while Ghanaians prayed for God’s protection, it was high time they paid attention to health experts and rejected all fraudulent claims for cures that would only threaten public health and safety.
“Please listen to, and take seriously, the public education messages being put out by the public health authorities. I urge the churches, mosques, traditional authorities, civil society organisations and opinion leaders to join in helping to keep Ghana safe,” he said.
While appreciating the active collaboration being offered by the global health authority, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and friends of Ghana, President Akufo-Addo gave an assurance that “the government, for its part, is determined to do whatever is necessary, including providing the requisite resources, to ensure the safety of the population”.
Source: Graphic Online
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