The government will be compelled to put the country under a lockdown if Ghanaians do not adhere strictly to protocols to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has warned.
In a televised national address Sunday night, the President said the country was witnessing an uptick in COVID-19 infections, a situation he stressed was threatening to erode gains made so far in the fight against the disease in the country.
Notably, he said the country now has over 1,900 active COVID-19 cases, with an average daily record 200 infections in the past two weeks, treatment centers are full of patients, and the number of patients requiring hospitalization and intensive care rising sharply from 18 to 120 in just a week, with 33 critical cases among those.
Also, Ghana Health Service statistics indicate that the considerable number of persons who are severely ill are relatively youthful persons, with no previous underlying health conditions, and the number of confirmed deaths has increased from the previous count of 338 to 352 within two weeks.
Particularly worrying, President Akufo-Addo noted, was the establishment that some arriving passengers tested positive for new variants of COVID-19.
He said those passengers had all been isolated, and work was ongoing to determine the presence and extent of spread of the new variants in the general population.
The President was upset that many Ghanaians had abandoned the use of masks and were not observing the set hygiene protocols instituted to slow the spread of coronavirus.
He said detailed investigations had indicated that apart from arriving passengers at the airport who tested positive, infected persons have recent histories of attending parties, weddings, end of year office programs, family get-togethers, and funerals, at which events they engaged in actions that led to them contracting the virus.
“At this current rate, whereby 13 out of the 16 regions have recorded active cases, our healthcare infrastructure will be overwhelmed. If this situation continues, it will severely undermine the efforts Government is making to revitalize the economy and put our nation back onto the path of progress and prosperity, following the ravages of the pandemic.
“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 the 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,” the President stressed.
“So, together, let us all ensure that we respect the protocols. I urge all of us to continue to live responsibly with the virus, even as we work towards accessing the vaccine.
“Let us work constantly at how to do our work, keep our businesses and places of worship open, and send our children to school, all in safety,” he implored.
President Akufo-Addo said Government is determined to ensure that the country returned to normalcy, adding, “We can achieve this result if we co-operate and work together.”
“It is essential that we protect ourselves, our families, and our loved ones from the virus. It is a collective responsibility.
“If we embrace the safety protocols, and we continue to put our faith in Almighty God, we will see light at the end of this tunnel. Zero active cases – that is the goal. We can and must reach it,” he said.