Ghana has lifted the three-week partial lockdown imposed on parts of the country to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus which has now infected more than thousand people.
The decision to lift the movement of restrictions in Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Kumasi from 1:00 a.m. on Monday April 20, President Nana Akufo-Addo explained, was informed by current data backed by science.
He however said the lifting of the lockdown “does not mean we are out of the pandemic” yet.
“I must make it clear at the outset that lifting these restrictions does not mean we are letting our guard down,” Nana Akufo-Addo said in a televised address to the nation to update them on current measures being taken to contain the deadly virus in Ghana.
The President said the ban on public gatherings which were the first set of measures announced in early march are to remain in full force.
“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,” he explained.
Also, schools across the country are also to remain closed, but Nana Akufo-Addo said “businesses and other workplaces can continue to operate” while observing staff management and workplace protocols with the view to achieving social distancing and hygiene protocols.
He said while operators of commercial vehicles will continue to run, they must do so with minimum number of passengers.
“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,” he advised.
Why the lockdown?
Nana Akufo-Addo explained that Ghana resolved to introduce the partial lockdown 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 quarantine those who tested positive and isolate them for treatment.
The results, he said, had been encouraging so far.
With Ghana having received the test results of some 68,591 contacts, the President said 1,042 persons, representing 1.5% have been confirmed as positive, while the remaing 67,549, representing 98.5% tested negative for the virus
“Additionally, 99 persons have recovered and have been discharged, with 930 persons, who have been isolated responding to treatment either in their homes or in treatment facilities,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo attributed the increase in number of cases for the last three weeks to aggressive tracing 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,” he said.
“…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-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 1 am on Monday, 20th April.”