President Akufo Addo has directed the Inspector General of Police to step up enforcement of Covid-19 protocols.
Speaking during the 22nd update on measures taken against the coronavirus pandemic he stated emphatically that:
“I have instructed the Inspector General of Police to direct officers, men and women of the Police Service to ensure the rigorous enforcement of the law on mask wearing at all public places and in public transport. They are also to ensure the closure of all night clubs, pubs, cinemas and beaches that may be operating in defiance of the law. They will be assisted by the other security agencies, if need be.”
This has been necessitated by the sharp rise in active cases over the last two weeks which has led to covid treatment centers being full, a trend the President describes as particularly worrying.
“Particularly worrying is the fact that the Ghana Health Service is recording, on the average, two hundred (200) new cases of COVID infections daily. The number of patients requiring hospitalisation and intensive care is rising. The number of severe cases, which stood ateighteen (18) a week ago, has increased sharply to one hundred and twenty (120). Two weeks ago, there was no critical case, we now have thirty-three (33) in our treatment facilities. Again, according to statistics from the Ghana Health Service, the considerable number of persons who are severely ill are, surprisingly, relatively youthful persons, with no previous underlying health conditions. The number of confirmed deaths has increased, sadly, from three hundred and thirty-eight(338) persons to three hundred and fifty-two (352)within the period”.
He also hinted of the presence of new variants in the country:
“Recent genomic sequencing undertaken by our scientists have established that some arriving passengers tested positive for new variants of COVID-19. These passengers have all been isolated. Furthermore, work is ongoing to determine the presence and extent of spread of the new variants in the general population.
Detailed investigations of the cases indicate that, apart from arriving passengers at our airport who tested positive, infected persons have recent histories of attending parties, weddings, end of year office programmes, family get-togethers, and funerals. At these gatherings, most of them abandoned the use of the masks, and were engaged in actions that led to them contracting the virus.”
President reminded Ghanaians of the severe sanctions on our statutes to deal with defaulters.
“It is important that I remind all Ghanaians that severe punishments exist on our statute books for persons breaking the law on the mandatory wearing of masks. Should anyone be arrested by the security agencies disregarding this directive, that person will be dealt with strictly in accordance with law”.
The head of State did not mince words when he threatened to lockdown the country if the current sharp rise in cases persists:
“We do not want to go back to the days of partial lockdowns, which had a negative impact on our economy and on our way of life. But should that become necessary, i.e., should the number of active cases continue to increase at the current rate, I will have no option but to re-impose these restrictions because it is better to be safe than to be sorry. So, together, let us all ensure that we respect the protocols.”