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Fellow Ghanaian, good evening.
I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year. We should be thankful to Almighty God that He saw us through 2020, undoubtedly one of the most eventful years in the history of mankind.
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I’m sure a lot by midnight at 31stDecember was happy to see the back of 2020, and the global pandemic of Covid-19 was the main reason. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still with us, which is why I joined you on the 21st (21)st) time to give you further updates on the decisions the government is making to return our lives safely to normal, and to achieve our ultimate goal of zero active business.
Since the announcement on Wednesday 11de March 2020, of the first set of restrictions to help win the fight against the virus, several others were imposed by the government for this.
Measures that include the temporary partial closure of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, Theme, Kasoa, and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area and adjoining districts, the closure of our schools, compliance with improved hygiene, social distance and masking protocols, the ban on public gatherings , and the closure of our schools and our borders, has caused us all significant problems.
A number of these restrictions have since been eased, and others still apply. As on 1st January, the number of active cases in Ghana stands at eight hundred and seventy-nine (879) cases, with fifty-three thousand, and five (54,005) recovered, eighteen (18) severely ill but no critical cases.
We conducted six hundred and seventy-four thousand, eight hundred and twelve (674,812) tests, with fifty-five thousand, two hundred and twenty (55,220) positive cases. Unfortunately, there are three hundred and thirty-six (336) deaths.
This is a relatively welcome picture when the data from other countries are taken into account, especially at a time when many parts of the world are struggling with a second wave of infections and a new variant of the virus. be more portable than the original version.
So far, we in Ghana have not detected any case of this new variant. Our scientists tell us that the genetic makeup of the virus in the country has still not changed.
The Ghanaian Health Service, with the support of relevant institutions, is closely monitoring the events, and will advise the government on the way forward. Consequently, compliance with the improved hygiene, social distance and masking protocols remains the instruments of our warfare, even when the vaccines arrive in Ghana. By strictly adhering to these protocols, we also ensure that the introduction of crippling restrictions and lockouts does not become an option for the government.
Until then, the government, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, will continue to pursue a strategic, controlled, progressive, secure easing of restrictions, this time in all public and private primary schools, junior higher, senior higher and tertiary institutions across the country. . , begins this month of January.
The lessons learned from the reopening of some sections of our educational institutions over the course of last year have put us in a much better position to successfully oversee the full reopening of our schools. Our children need to go to school, even if it is safe, and we are satisfied that the reopening of our schools is safe in the current circumstances.
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So, from 15deOur children in kindergarten, elementary and junior high school, in private and public schools, will be back in school. All SHS 1 students start from 10 with classesde March, with all students starting on a single track academic calendar. However, their seniors in SHS 2 and SHS 3 will return to school from 18de January. I must emphasize that SHS 3 students in all schools, such as SHS 1 students, will no longer run the dual-track system.
The expansion of the infrastructure at the various senior high schools over the past three (3) years has brought us to this favorable situation.
However, the dual-track system will still apply to SHS 2 students in schools that use it. Students at universities and other tertiary institutions must be 9 from SaturdaydeJanuary.
Before returning to school, the government, through the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service, will ensure that all institutions, public and private, are cleansed and disinfected. Schools and institutions, with their own hospitals and clinics, will be equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment, and have isolation centers to deal with positive cases.
All other schools and institutions, without their own clinics and hospitals, have been mapped to health care facilities. For the time being, there will be no mass events and no sports activities. However, religious activities for students at school, according to the new protocols, were allowed. Social distance and wearing face masks should become the norm in our schools.
The necessary provisions have been made to ensure that students at all levels of education receive the minimum number of contact hours when they return to school.
To facilitate the safety of students, the government, through the Ministry of Education, will provide face masks, ‘Veronica’ buckets, hand cleaners, liquid soap, rolls of tissue paper and thermometer guns for the safe reopening of schools.
The Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Health Service and the Ghana Education Service will be from Monday 4de January begins a series of awareness-raising campaigns to prepare, inform and educate guardians, students and the public about further modalities associated with the reopening.
I want to use this address to assure all parents and guardians that the government is determined to protect the lives of all students, teachers and non-teaching staff who will return to school. It must be repeated that each of them must adhere to the protocols to protect themselves and others.
Fellow Ghanaians, it is well established that the very first cases of COVID-19 were imported into our shores in Ghana. Restricting the import of cases has therefore been one of our main objectives since the outbreak of the disease in the country. We in Ghana have always been concerned about the different strains of the virus entering the country.
That’s why we opened our international airport at 1st In September, we introduced one of the most stringent test systems in the world – a two-system test system – which indicated that all passengers arriving at Kotoka should have a negative PCR test result on their arrival in Ghana, a test that should be no more than seventy-two (72) hours before the scheduled departure from the country of origin is done. In addition, all passengers had to be subjected to a compulsory COVID test upon arrival.
From 1st In January 2021, a total of seven hundred and twelve (712) positive cases, out of one hundred and eighty thousand-two hundred and seventy-eight (118,278) tests, were recorded among international arrivals at Kotoka International Airport.
In December alone, three hundred and eighty-seven (387) cases were recorded. The positivity rate among international arrivals rose from 0.26% in September to 0.93% in December.
These developments require that existing protocols be strengthened to prevent the spread of the disease in Ghana, in view of the new variant of the virus. Therefore, the following measures will be implemented, in addition to the existing guidelines for international travel for COVID-19, in Ghana:
- all passengers arriving positive for COVID-19, asymptomatic or not, will undergo mandatory isolation and treatment at a designated health care facility or isolation center. The isolation will last for seven (7) days, at the expense of the government. However, the final waiver of business will be based on existing business management guidelines and protocols;
- all passengers who are in isolation will undergo a repeat test of COVID-19 within 24 hours of arrival, with the cost also borne by the government. This test will also include genomic sequencing for COVID-19; and
- all passengers who test COVID-19 negatively must constantly adhere to COVID-19’s safety protocols and receive regular information on COVID-19 within five (5) days of arrival in Ghana.
I want to assure all Ghanaians that the test regime that exists in Kotoka is one of the strictest in the world, and, as certified by the Food and Drugs Authority, it is able to detect this new variant of COVID-19, which others plaguing nations around the world.
Fellow Ghanaian, in Update 20 before Christmas, I made a passionate appeal to you to ensure compliance with the COVID protocols, and reiterated that, among other things, beaches, bars, cinemas and nightclubs would be closed until further notice. . The task force advising me on COVID measures is constantly reviewing the situation and will suggest me when it is safe to lift the restriction.
You will recall that, in our quest to help protect you from the effects of the virus, the government has made the decision to provide relief to Ghanaians, which includes the inclusion of electricity and water bills. This help package ended in December. However, with the persistent problems posed by the pandemic, I would like to state that the government intends to support the most vulnerable in our society. The government will therefore pay the electricity bills for the one million active lifeline customers of our country for the next three months, ie January, February and March.
In addition, all the million, five hundred thousand customers of the Ghana Water Company, whose consumption is not more than five cubic meters per month, pay no bills for the next three months, i.e. for the months of January, February and March. This help package will be reviewed at the end of March.
Fellow Ghanaian, it’s been more than nine (9) months since we all made adjustments to many aspects of our lives and daily routines. It was not an easy task, I know. However, we have done this to protect our lives, the lives of our loved ones and the lives of our heroic health workers who continue to care for those affected by the virus and the sick in general.
With Ghana set to acquire its first consignment of COVID vaccines within the first half of this year, there is light at the end of the tunnel. But we are not out of the woods yet. So let’s all continue on the path of strict adherence to the protocols. There is nothing outside of us, the Ghanaian people, who were the first in sub-Saharan Africa to gain our freedom from colonial rule. We can do it.
It has been my responsibility to come to your home on twenty-one occasions, and it has certainly been an honor and an absolute privilege to serve you as your President for the past four years. I look forward to carrying out the mandate you have entrusted to me and my government for the next four years, and together we will defeat COVID and return this beloved country of ours on the path of progress and prosperity.
It will also succeed! For the Battle is still the Lord !!
May God bless us all and our homeland Ghana and make her great and strong.
Thank you for your attention and good night.