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COVID-19 lockdown: Presidency clarifies category of persons exempted from restrictions

The Presidency has clarified the category of members of the Executive arm of government exempted from the restrictions imposed on parts of the country to contain the coronavirus outbreak in Ghana.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last Friday imposed a lockdown on the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) including Kasoa in the Central Region as well as the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area (GKMA) which includes Kumasi and some towns in the Ashanti Region.

Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Kumasi have been tagged as the hotspots of the disease in Ghana.

The lockdown is expected to take effect on Monday, March 30, 2020.

While announcing the category of persons who will be allowed to move within the period, the President mentioned Members of the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary.

A statement from the Presidency dated March 29, 2020, and signed by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare explained that members of the Executive arm of government the President referred to include Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Senior Staffers and Special Assistants.

The statement added that other members of the Public Service are to adhere to an earlier directive issued by the Public Services Commission.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Members of the Executive refers to Hon. Ministers, Deputy Ministers of State, Senior Staffers at the Presidency and Special Assistants. All other Members of the Public Service are to comply with the circular issued by the Public Services Commission with reference No. AB 296/349/01 dated 23rd March, 2020 which is aimed at reducing the number of staff working at the same time while ensuring the continuous delivery of core services as mandated,” the Chief of Staff added in the statement.

Ghana has so far recorded 141 cases of the Coronavirus disease also known as COVID-19 after it detected its first cases earlier in March. Five people who tested positive to the virus in the country have also died while two infected persons have recovered.

Several measures including the closure of all the country’s borders and mandatory quarantine of travellers, ban on public gatherings, closure of educational institutions among others are still in force in a bid to curb the disease.

President Akufo-Addo announced the lockdown as an additional means of combating disease which experts say may escalate if drastic measures are not adopted now.

Services exempted from restrictions 

  • Members of the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary;
  • Production, distribution and marketing of food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, medicine, paper and plastic packages;
  • Environmental and sanitation activities;
  • Staff of VALCO;
  • Road and railway construction workers;
  • Mining workers;
  • Fisherfolk;
  • Members of the security agencies assigned lawful duties;
  • Staff of electricity, water, telecommunications, e-commerce and digital service providers;
  • Staff of fuel stations; and
  • The Media

    What is Coronavirus?

    Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus. It was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has spread to other parts of the world including Ghana.

    The disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing.

    The virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (generated through coughing and sneezing), and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus.

    Currently, there is no specific medicine to prevent or treat coronavirus disease. Health experts have advised people to wash their hands frequently with soap, avoid touching the face and staying about 1 meter or 3 feet away from other people.

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