President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has admonished Ghanaians to stop shaking hands completely.

He also entreated the people to cover their mouths when they cough and sneeze to help prevent the spread of the deadly Coronavirus disease.

President Akufo-Addo described the disease as a medical crisis that is bringing in its wake, deaths and economic difficulties, and spreading fear and panic throughout the world.

Infections so far

Over 106,000 people have so far been infected by the coronavirus across the world and has caused more economic damage.

Again, the disease has killed more than 3,600 people globally. 

Mainland China, where the outbreak began, has seen at least 3,097 deaths, but the epidemic is now spreading faster elsewhere.

President Akufo-Addo announced that in the early days of the outbreak, he constituted, on 7th February, a high-powered emergency response team to handle the crisis.

The Team, he said, has been monitoring developments and reporting to him on a daily basis.

Speaking at the 63rd Independence Day celebration on Friday, President Akufo-Addo stated that strict checks at Ghana’s entry points are being conducted, with rigorous screening procedures.

“Isolation and treatment centres have been designated for potential cases, and a quarantine centre has been set up. Five thousand (5,000) personal protective equipment for health workers have been procured and distributed to all regions and major health facilities, points of entry, teaching hospitals, treatment centres and selected health facilities,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo added that additional protective health equipment is being procured, together with the ongoing training of health workers in the treatment of the disease.

“In the interim, non-essential travel into Ghana is being strongly discouraged from high risk countries, namely, China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea. We are counting on the experts to do their part to safeguard us, but we all have a responsibility to take measures to help ourselves and each other,” he said.

In advising Ghanaians, he stated that “the recommendations are for each one of us to practice basic, personal hygiene, and be extra careful with sanitation. For the time being, as the Ministry of Health has advised, we have to revisit our custom of shaking hands, and stop doing so completely, and we must cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze.”

Health experts

Whilst praying that “the Almighty continues to shield us”, President Akufo-Addo told Ghanaians that the time has come for all Ghanaians to pay attention to the health experts, and reject all fraudulent claims for cures that will only threaten public health and safety.

“Please listen to, and take seriously, the public education messages being put out by the public health authorities, and I urge the churches, mosques, traditional authorities, civil society organisations and opinion leaders all to join in helping to keep Ghana safe,” he said.

In appreciating the active collaboration being offered by the global health authority, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and by friends of Ghana, President Akufo-Addo assured that “Government, on its part, is determined to do whatever is necessary, including providing the requisite resources, to ensure the safety of the population.”