6 things we learned from Akufo-Addo’s 26th update on Covid-19

Since Ghana recorded its first Covid-19 case in March 2020, President Akufo-Addo has periodically ‘visited citizens in their homes’ to give updates on government’s measures to combat the disease.

Sunday, was the 26th time the President addressed the nation on the matter following the skyrocketing numbers that the country has been recording in the past few weeks.

According to the Ghana Health Service (GHS), as of July 23, the country has so far confirmed 102,103 cases, out of which 823 have died, and 96,759 have recovered.

But currently, Ghana’s active cases stand at 4521.

Speaking from the Jubilee House, President Akufo-Addo made certain proclamations, promises, commitments, and guidelines to protect citizens from the coronavirus disease.

Let’s take a cue:

Third-wave is here!

President Akufo-Addo, who is at the helm of affairs, admitted that the disease which was fought off the first and second time is back again.

Following his recognition of the current threat, he noted that safety protocols that were either relaxed or ignored must be reintroduced.

“I have not come into your homes for some time because I had hoped that the next time I did so, I would come to announce that we were ready to lift the restrictions and protocols and get our lives and economy back to normal. But, alas, that is not the case, so it has become necessary for me to come to your homes this evening, after a 10-week absence, to provide you with an update on our nation’s Covid-19 situation.

“As per data available from the Ghana Health Service, it appears that, unfortunately, our nation, like many others, is experiencing the third wave of Covid-19 infections.”

We let our guard down, time to sit up

It’s said, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”

After rehashing the Covid-19 situation of the country, the President admonished the citizenry for their complacency and total disregard of the safety measures.

But since harm has already been done, President Akufo-Addo urged the citizenry to adhere to the protocols for the country to emerge victorious in this Covid war.

“Fellow Ghanaians, it is obvious from the data that we have let our guard down, with many going about their daily duties in clear breach of and disregard for the protocols. At a time when the economy is on the rebound and business activities picking up, we must do everything possible to contain this outbreak. We cannot afford to return to the days of partial lockdowns, which brought considerable hardships and difficulties for all of us.

“You returned me to office in the elections of 7th December with a clear and decisive mandate to protect lives and livelihoods and steer our nation out of the grips of the pandemic and onto a path of sustained economic growth and progress. Fortunately for us, we have tried and tested response protocols which we have implemented since March 2020. They have stood us in good stead, and we have no choice but to return to the strict implementation of some of them.”

Restrictions on public gatherings

Large gatherings have been described as a “super spreader” of Covid-19. Organisers of events, such as weddings, funerals among others, often overlooked all the threats of coronavirus disease to hold programmes.

Thus, in his address, the President outlined seven guidelines, including the holding of all events associated with funerals and weddings in open-air spaces.

He stressed that attendants must observe a one-metre social distancing rule.

“I have emphasised the need for the strict observance of safety protocols at funerals and weddings, and the measures are a set of enhanced protocols which must be adhered to by all at funerals and weddings.”

“The wearing of masks is mandatory, and persons must respect the enhanced hygiene protocols. In addition, funerals should not go beyond two hours, and post-event receptions are banned”, President Akufo-Addo said.

He urged attendants also to avoid shaking hands, and one-week funeral celebrations are restricted solely to family members and should not exceed a duration of two hours.

Vaccination is the way forward.

It has been established that until herd immunity is achieved, Ghana will continue to witness series of resurgences in its Covid-19 situation.

Given this, President Akufo-Addo revealed that government is procuring some 18,478,670 vaccines through the COVAX facility, African Medicine Supply Platform, and other bodies to aid in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

He noted that these vaccines will arrive in the country in the third quarter of the year.

Breaking it down, he said the United States of America, through the COVAX facility, is providing 1,000,000 Pfizer vaccines, the African Union is providing 229,670 Pfizer vaccines, while the United Kingdom is giving out 249,000 AstraZeneca vaccines.

“Government is also in the process of procuring seventeen million (17 million) single dose per person Johnson & Johnson vaccines, through the African Medicine Supply Platform, in this quarter,” he added.

Local production of vaccines is the future

With a global shortage of vaccines, President Akufo-Addo said Ghana will develop its own capacity to produce vaccines domestically.

The President announced that government has committed US$25million for the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute to spearhead the manufacture of vaccines to meet national and regional needs.

“Government has committed to injecting seed funding of some $25 million this year, into this enterprise,” he revealed.

The Institute has been charged with delivering six clear mandates; establishing local vaccine manufacturing plants, deepening Research and Development (R&D) for vaccines in Ghana and upgrading and strengthening the FDA.

The rest are; forging bilateral and multilateral partnerships for vaccine manufacturing in various areas, such as funding, clinical trials, technology transfer, licensing, and assignment of intellectual property rights, building the human resource base for vaccine discovery, development, and manufacture, and establishing a permanent national secretariat to coordinate vaccine development and manufacture.

Together we can

The fight against Covid-19 requires all and sundry to play their quota to conquering the common enemy.

The President highlights this by asking everyone to abide by the safety protocols, including wearing facemasks, social distancing and washing hands frequently.

“I ask this evening that we remain steadfast in our adherence to the protocols so that we can overcome this third wave of infections. If we do so, we will soon be able to return to our normal way of life.

“Zero active cases must remain the overarching goal, and I have no doubt that, together, and with the help of God, this too shall pass, for the Battle is still the Lord’s.”

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