Yuletide: Beaches closed, masks compulsory

Source The Ghana Report

Surging COVID-19 cases has compelled authorities to shut down all beaches in the capital as the Omicron variant gains ground.

At the same time, officials have made it mandatory for travellers to wear nose masks at all times or risk prevention from boarding vehicles.

The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey, announced the new measures on Friday, December 24, as revellers kick start a long period of holidays.

Beaches usually get filled up with crowds which could be a likely medium of transmission for the highly-infectious strain causing a fourth wave globally.

At the meeting with various stakeholders, including representatives of drivers’ unions, beach operators, event organisers and religious bodies, the minister outlined the new directives.

“Effective immediately, all beaches in Greater Accra Region shall be closed down before and during the Christmas and New Year festivities,” he said.

Persons who disregard the directives will be arrested and prosecuted as joint teams plan patrols along the beaches.

While the beach operators endorsed the move, members of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) and The Progressive Transport Owner’s Association Ghana (PROTOA) agreed to enforce the measures outlined for passengers, beginning Saturday, December 25.

Additionally, members of the public are to wear masks in public places.

The new guidelines were informed by data from the Ghana Health Service (GHS), showing a sharp rise in infections.

Director of Public Health at the GHS, Dr Franklin Asiedu Bekoe, explained that most of the new infections were being recorded in Accra with more than 100 cases at the Kotoka International Airport alone.

So far, about 95% of infections are concentrated in Accra with travelers likely to spread the virus to other villages and towns as they move to go and celebrate during the yuletide.

“There is obvious spread of Omicron in communities that is why cases are high,” he stressed.

He was concerned that more than 2000 cases have been registered in less than two weeks.

Less than 10 cases were being recorded daily about a month ago but now hitting 100 daily on average.










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