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COVID-19 update: Funerals, weddings, concerts and other public gatherings banned

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

As part of measures to help prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-29) in Ghana, the government has re-introduced restrictions on public gatherings.

"Until further notice, funerals, weddings, concerts, theatrical performances and parties are banned."

"Private burials, with no more than 25 people can take place, with the enforcement of social distancing, hygiene and mask wearing protocols."

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made this known in his 23rd national update on the coronavirus disease Sunday night.

It was the 23rd national address on the disease since Ghana recorded its first cases in March 2020.

The last time President Akufo-Addo delivered such an address, Ghana had a little over 3,000 active cases, however, he said active cases currently were over 5,000.

There is an average daily rate of infection of 700 as compared to the 200 two weeks ago.

As of Friday, January 29, 2021, 64 more people had died over the last two weeks, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths from the disease to 416, the president said.

"Our hospitalisation rates are increasing with the number of critically and severely ill persons now at 172," President Akufo-Addo added.

"Our hospitals have become full, and we have had to reactivate our isolation centres, Our average rates of infection now stand at 700, compared to 200 two weeks ago."

"The total number of active cases has now more than doubled, from a little over 1900, two weeks ago to 5358 currently.

President Akufo-Addo stressed that the imposition of restrictions on daily routines in 2020 helped in reducing the prevalence of the pandemic in Ghana, and therefore the government has been left with no option to re-introduce some of "these restrictions in order to help save the situation."

"I know these measures, in the recent past, were unpleasant, but over a period, they resulted in a favourable situation for our country. We have to return them."

"Beaches, night clubs, cinemas, and pubs continue to be shut. Our borders by land and sea remain closed."

"All workplaces, public and private, must employ a shift-system for workers, in addition to the use of virtual platforms for business or work. Conferences and workshops can take place with all the appropriate protocols. However, I encourage the use of virtual platforms for such engagements."

"Restaurants should provide take-away services, and should, as much as possible, avoid seated services."

President Akufo-Addo urged the National Sports Authority and the Ghana Football Association to ensure compliance with the 25 percent capacity rule in the stadium with spectators respecting the social distancing rule and wearing of masks.

"To the revered leaders of our religious organisations, i.e. churches and mosques, I entreat you to enforce, to the letter, the protocols relating to attendance, i.e. the two-hour duration, one-metre social distancing, mask wearing, use of sanitizers, and the presence of veronica buckets, liquid soap, and rolls of tissue of paper." 

"I note that, since the re-opening of our schools, two weeks ago, we have witnessed only few reports of cases amongst students. I appeal to school authorities and teachers to enforce the guideliness provided by the Ghana Education Service to continue their surveillance at teh schools, so we can contain any reported cases," President Akufo-Addo added.

Watch a video of the address below

more to follow...