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COVID-19 Surge: President reintroduces ban on social gathering

Accra, Jan 31, GNA – Following the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Sunday announced the reintroduction of a ban on social gatherings; such as funerals, weddings and concerts until further notice.

He said private burials, with not more than 25 people, could take place, with the enforcement of the social distancing, hygiene and mask wearing protocols.

He noted that beaches, night clubs, cinemas, and pubs continue to be shut, and that the nation’s borders by land and sea remain closed.

President Akufo-Addo said this in his 23rd update on Ghana’s Enhanced Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

“All workplaces, public and private, must employ a shift-system for workers, in addition to the use of virtual platforms for business or work,” he stated.

“Conferences and workshops can take place with all the appropriate protocols. However, I encourage the use of virtual platforms for such engagements.”

He said restaurants should provide take-away services, and should, as much as possible, avoid seated services.

“As at Friday, 29th January, 64 more people have, sadly, died, over the last two weeks, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths to 416,” he said.

“Our hospitalisation rates are increasing, with the number of critically and severely ill persons now at 172.

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

President Akufo-Addo said the total number of active cases had more than doubled, from a little over 1,900, two weeks ago, to 5,358 currently.

“When I delivered Update No. 22, 13 out of the 16 regions had recorded active cases; today, all 16 regions have active cases.

“Indeed, Greater Accra, Central, Western, Ashanti, Eastern, Upper East, Upper West, Volta, and Northern Regions are the hardest hit, accounting for 94 per cent of the total number of active cases.”

The President noted that in effect, Ghanaians had a lot of work to do in coming to grips with the disease.

He said given that recent studies show that the UK and other new variants were being transmitted within the population, Ghanaians should all understand that their current situation could get very dire if efforts were not made, both on the part of Government and by them, the citizenry, to help contain the virus.

He said the analysis continues to show that the spread of the virus mostly occurs in indoor, confined spaces with poor ventilation, where people were talking, singing or shouting without their masks.

He noted that the imposition of restrictions on their daily routines helped in reducing the prevalence of the pandemic in the country, and Government had been left with no option but 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 to them,” he said.

The President said the National Sports Authority and the Ghana Football Association should ensure compliance with the 25 per cent capacity rule in our stadia, with spectators respecting the social distancing rule and wearing of masks.

To the revered leaders of religious organisations, that is churches and mosques, the President entreated them to enforce, to the letter, the protocols relating to attendance, that is 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 paper.