President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has indicated that personnel of the Ghana Police Service, and if need be other security agencies will join in, to strictly enforce the Covid-19 health and safety protocols to stem the spread of the disease in the country.
In his 22nd televised update on measures taken against the spread of the pandemic on Sunday, January 17, President Akufo-Addo said with 13 of the 16 regions recording new positive cases, with active cases in excess of 1,900, some 352 deaths so far and 33 persons whose conditions are critical, Ghana's health facilities will soon be overwhelmed if the trend continues.
According to the President, detailed investigations of current 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.
To buck the trend, he said we must return to the strict adherence of the safety protocols; handwashing and sanitising, maintaining social distancing and wearing of nose masks at all times, warning also of severe sanctions against anyone breaking the protocols if the nation will not have to revisit the era of biting restrictions.
"Since I delivered Update 21, we have seen an upsurge in the number of active cases, from a little over nine hundred (900) to one thousand, nine hundred and twenty-four cases (1,924). Our CON/1 D-19 treatment centres have gone from having zero patients to now being full because of the upsurge in infections."
"Fellow Ghanaians, at this current rate, where-by thirteen (13) out of the sixteen (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.
"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."
"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.
"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."