The government of Ghana has suspended all public gatherings in the country with immediate effect following the recording of six confirmed Coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) in Ghana as of Saturday, March 14, 2020.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made this known in a televised national address Sunday night [March 15, 2020].
He said the new directives follows an earlier meeting of Inter-Ministerial Committee on Coronavirus response which he chaired and it deliberated on the issues.
"I have decided, in the interest of public safety and protection of our population, to review the public gathering advisories earlier announced."
He said among the gatherings suspended are church services, weddings, funerals, other social gatherings.
All universities, senior high schools and basic schools - public and private schools will be closed Monday March 16, 2020 till further notice.
The Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication has been tasked to roll out distance learning programmes.
However, BECE and WASSCE candidates will be allowed to attend school to prepare for their examinations, but with prescribed social distancing protocols, President Akufo-Addo said.
"You may recall that on Wednesday, 12th March 2020, when I first spoke to you directly on this matter, I announced the first raft of enhanced measures taken in response to the pandemic. At the time, there had been no reported, confirmed case of the Coronavirus in Ghana," President Akufo-Addo said.
He said since then, six confirmed cases have been announced, all of persons who recently travelled into Ghana.
He said advisories on how to manage the developments have also been announced by the Ministries of Health and Information and that public education is being intensified to ensure that citizens are well advised on preventive measures.
Summary of the Directives from President Akufo-Addo
All public gatherings, including conferences, workshops, funerals, political rallies, sporting events and religious activities, such as services in churches and mosques have been suspended for the next four weeks. Private burials are permitted, but with limited numbers, not exceeding 25 in attendance.
All Universities, senior high schools and basic schools, i.e. private and public schools will be closed Monday March 16, 2020 till further notice. The Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication has been tasked to roll out distance learning programmes. However BECE and WASCE candidates will be allowed to attend school to prepare for their examinations but with the prescribed social distancing protocols.
The government of Ghana travel advisory issued earlier today should be observed as announced
Businesses and other work places can continue to operate. They should observe prescribed social distancing between patrons and staff.
Establishments such as supermarkets, shopping malls, restaurants, night clubs, hotels and drinking spots should observe enhanced hygiene procedures that provides hand sanitizers, running water and soap for washing of hands.
The Ministry of Transport should work with the transport unions in private and public transport operators to ensure enhance hygienic conditions in vehicles and terminals by providing among others hand sanitizers, running water and soap for washing of hands.
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development should coordinate with the Metropolitan and Municipal and District Assemblies measures to enhance conditions and hygiene in markets across the country.
President Akufo-Addo said additionally, as the experts conduct contact tracing, "I appeal to all to cooperate with them to ensure that persons who have come into contact with positive cases are identified and supported..
He said he has directed the Attorney General to immediately submit to Parliament an emergency Legislation in accordance with Article 21 to help enforce all the measures announced.
He said he has further directed the Minister of Health to exercise his powers under section 169 of the Public Health Act, 2012, Act 851 by the immediate issuance of an Executive Instrument to govern the relevant and called on Parliament to support the Executive in "national endeavour."
Not ordinary times
"As I said earlier, there is every need to observe prescribed social distancing and good personal hygiene to prevent community spread.
"We are determined to do whatever we can to prevent the spread of the virus and protect the population."
The President said all the measures announced will be subject to constant review and enhancement if necessary. Fellow Ghanaians, these are not ordinary times, so let us all put our shoulders to the wheel and I'm confident that together, by the grace of God we shall overcome this challenge. May God bless us all and our homeland Ghana and make us great and strong. I thank you for your attention."
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