President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has admonished Ghanaians to either cancel or postpone all non-essential trips to countries with high COVID-19 infection rate cases.
President Akufo-Addo said, “you have plenty of time, God willing, for such trips in the future,” assuring that the government will continue to review the country’s travel restriction measures.
Some countries in Europe, Asia and South America are experiencing the third wave of COVID-19 infections which is racking havoc in those countries— in the form of rising infections and increase death tolls.
He said while Ghana’s thoughts and prayers were with these countries, Ghanaians should be mindful of the associated risk of travels to and from those countries at this time.
The President reiterated the restrictions on travels issued jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and the Ghana Health Services.
Some three weeks ago, the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), recorded a significant increase in the number of passengers who tested positive for the virus.
That, according to the President, was identified due to countries of embarkation experiencing a third wave of the virus, as well as challenges associated with the authenticity of COVID-19 PCR test certificates being presented at airports around the world.
President Akufo-Addo said to prevent fake PCR certificates by arriving passengers at the KIA, the government, through the Ministry of Health, had begun the process of digitizing PCR test results to ensure ease of verification.
The technology platform being used at KIA, the President indicated, was based on standards set by the Africa Trust Travel and ECOWAS Biomass.
He said all passengers traveling in Ghana must possess a test result certificate bearing the trusted travel biomass codes to be acceptable in KIA.
President Akufo-Addo said since the issuance and implementation of the said directives, the increase in positive test cases from passengers arriving at KIA had declined considerably.
Re-evaluated and quality checks on PCR testing at KIA had proven to be highly effective and that the government was satisfied with the sensitivity and specificity of the testing regime there.
President Akufo-Addo said, nevertheless, the government needed to find other ways to further secure the country’s borders to limit the importation of the virus.
He said two major occurrences of the fight against the COVID-19 which had taken place in the country had been the remarkable reduction in active cases from 5, 444 persons as of February 26 to 1,314 as of May 11.
The country’s rate of infection had also dropped significantly from 400 a day to less than 100.
Additionally, the number of persons who have recovered from the virus had also increased from 77, 972 to 91, 146 within the same period. Sadly, 176 more persons had succumbed to the virus.
Cumulatively, President Akufo-Addo disclosed that the government had conducted 1,121, 168 COVID-19 tests.
With the arrival of 350, 000 doses of Astro Zeneca vaccines to be added to the country’s stock, the President believes it would enable the government to provide the second jab of the 360,000 persons in the 43 districts in the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Central regions who received the first jabs some 12 weeks ago.
Beginning Wednesday, May 19 to Wednesday, May 26, the deployment of the second dose of vaccination will take place across the designated vaccination centres.
This, the President believes is crucial to restoring normalcy to the lives of Ghanaians.
A million Ghanaians have received their first doses of the Covid-19 vaccines, however, the international vaccine politics and the unpredictability of the supply chain, as well as the third wave of infections in some countries in Europe and Asia had meant that Ghana had not been able to secure as many vaccines to vaccinate as many Ghanaians as it would have wanted.
Despite these difficulties, President Akufo-Addo believed the Government’s target of vaccinating some 20 million Ghanaians by the end of the year is on course.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD