Akufo-Addo slaps coronavirus threat with $100million
Ghana’s preparation towards fighting an outbreak of coronavirus in the country has received a major boost as President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announces a $100-million financial backbone.
The fund is to enhance Ghana’s coronavirus preparedness and response plan.
The amount, he said, “is to fund the expansion of infrastructure, purchase of materials, equipment and public education.”
Delivering an address to the nation on Wednesday, the President explained, “with the declaration by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the coronavirus disease as a pandemic, it is important that Ghana steps up its preparedness.”
All of Ghana’s neighbours, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo, have confirmed cases of infections. 57 cases tested in Ghana as of March 11, all turned negative.
According to the President, Ghana’s entry points, such as the airports and land borders, continued to show ‘satisfactory’ preparedness to screen all entrants into the country.
He also mentioned that the health ministry had designated a quarantine facility that could hold infected persons, while regional hospitals were preparing isolation centres for holding suspected cases.
The President said the country’s two main research institutions — the Noguchi Memorial Institute and the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research—which could test and confirm cases, had been supportive.
He revealed that he had instructed further enhancements of the protocols for inbound traffic from already affected countries, and urged Ghanaians “as much as possible, to desist from all foreign travels, except the most critical ones, until there is a grip on the virus.”
China the source of the virus recorded more than 80,000 infections with the biggest rate of infections outside Asia confirmed in Italy with over 12,000 cases and 827 deaths, as of March 12, 2020.
Ghana is not the only country closing its airports to international flights and people from coronavirus endemic countries. The United States on Monday announced a ban on travels from Europe.
As part of the preventive measures, Ghana’s Ministry of Information will lead a nationwide public education campaign on preventive measures to curtail the spread of infections, should the country record any infections.
President Akufo-Addo also advised the media to churn out only approved messages from the Ministry of Health.
“This fight is for all of us. I urge the media to join this cause fully and help disseminate information on the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of the disease.
“The information to be put out, however, must be that approved by health authorities, and not just from any piece of literature found on the internet, as false materials are already being spread from other jurisdictions,” he said.
Touching on the production of the logistics required to prevent and combat the virus, the President revealed that the government had begun to engage with the domestic pharmaceutical industry to assist.
“We must take advantage of this crisis to strengthen the domestic productive capacity, so we can advance self-reliance, and reduce the dependence on imports. Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention,” he added.