The President of Ghana on Sunday 30th August, 2020 addressed the nation to give an update on the measures taken by the Government to combat the spread of coronavirus in Ghana. A number of protocols have been put in place by the government since the country first recorded its first COVID-19 case in March 2020. Ghana as of 9th September, 2020 has a total case count of 45,188, 283 deaths, 44,042 recoveries, 863 active cases, and 176 new cases (https://www.ghanahealthservice.org/covid19/). Globally, the case count stands at 27,137,624 with a death toll of 889,037. The USA, India, Brazil, Russia, and Peru are the top five countries in the world with the most recorded cases. (https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html).
In the recent address to the nation, one of the keynotes worth mentioning was the reopen and resumption of operations at the Kotoka International Airport from 1st September, 2020. This has been made possible by the installation of COVID-19 testing facilities at the Airport. Closing the airports was in a bid to eliminate the risk of imported cases into the country as it is well established that the very first cases of COVID-19 in Ghana were imported into the country. In the spirit of determination to ensure that there is not a recurrence of this scenario, necessary measures to ensure that the gradual easing of restrictions which now includes the reopening of the airports does not lead to a resurgence of the virus in the country has been put in place. These are the measures taken and duly communicated to airlines wishing to resume flights to Ghana:
Any passenger arriving in Ghana must be in possession of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from an accredited laboratory in the country of origin. The test should have been done not more than 72 hours before the scheduled departure from the country of origin. All airlines have been instructed to ensure compliance with this directive for all passengers wishing to travel to Ghana, and those airlines who fail in this regard will be duly sanctioned;
Disembarking passengers must do so wearing face masks;
Upon disembarking from the aeroplane, each passenger will undergo a mandatory COVID-19 test at the airport terminal, at a fee to be borne by the passenger. The test result will be available within 30 minutes.
Since the gradual easing of restriction started in May this year, one of the issues that have been of great concern to the government and public health experts is the non-compliance of citizens to the safety protocols put in place. Though the non-adherence of these protocols is punishable by law, most people have turned a blind eye to it as people continue to flout the protocols put in place to keep them safe. In the President’s address, he expressed his displeasure about this situation especially with regards to the low compliance to wearing of face mask rule. He stated, “The high compliance rate with mask-wearing of persons surveyed by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in some selected areas of Accra, to which I referred optimistically in my last address, has, according to a new survey by the GHS fallen alarmingly”. He entreated that enhanced hygiene, mask-wearing, and social distancing protocols must be central features of our lives until the elimination of the virus is seen.
Aside from the aviation industry, the President also touched on some level of restriction easing on education. He made it clear that the 2nd year senior high students should start preparing to go to school which commences in October. However, all other junior levels are to remain at home until January, 2021.