This is part of the measures put in place to defeat the novel coronavirus in the country.
“So, until 14th December 2020, the wearing of masks remains mandatory, and the law enforcement agencies will be required to ensure this directive is respected by all,” he has stated.
According to the President, the extension has become necessary since the wearing of masks has served the country well in the fight against COVID-19. He has, thus, urged all Ghanaians to wear the masks, and “do so correctly anytime we leave our homes.”
“It is the new normal requirement of our daily existence until the virus disappears,” he stated.
Football is back
Addressing the country for the 17th time since the outbreak of the virus, the President also announced the easing of some of the restrictions on sporting activities in the country, giving green light to the Ghana Football Association to commence the Ghana Premier League and the Division One Football League.
The two football leagues, according to the President, will restart on Friday, October 30 “with a full regime of testing of the players, technical and management staff.”
“No spectators will be allowed at the training centres, and, when actual competition resumes, seating at all stadia will be limited to 25 per cent capacity to ensure social distancing.
“Wearing of masks by spectators at stadia will be mandatory. The restart of all other sporting competitions will be determined on a case-by-case basis, pending consultations between the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the respective sport associations,” he added.
Land, sea borders still closed
The President stated that “our borders, by land and sea, will remain closed to human traffic until further notice.”
President Akufo-Addo, on August 16, announced the reopening of Kotoka International Airport, signalling gradual reintegration with the rest of the world.
Subsequently, 16 out of the 23 airlines that operated in Kotoka prior to its closure have, again, commenced flights to and from Accra.
As part of the measures for the reopening, all passengers were to be in possession of a negative PCR test result upon their arrival in Ghana, a test which should have been conducted not more than 72 hours before the scheduled departure from the country of origin. Passengers arriving were also to be tested at Ghana’s International Airport. As at Saturday, September 19, some 10,061 passengers had been tested at Kotoka, with 26 of them testing positive.
“Let us pause for a moment and imagine what would have happened if these twenty-six (26) positives had not been detected, and had been allowed to mingle with the population,” the President said.
He added that even though the cost of $150 per passenger for the mandatory airport COVID test has been criticised in certain quarters, the value of the test in its speed, accuracy and savings for passengers who no longer have to bear the cost of the 14-day mandatory quarantine in hotels, has been clearly established.
“It is worth noting that a lot of people who have experienced at first hand the service being offered at our international airport, have praised the country for the innovation and farsightedness on display at our airport. Let me assure you again that, as President of the Republic, I will do everything in my power to protect you and stop the importation of the virus into our country, or limit and contain its spread. This is my solemn commitment to you,” he assured.
Meanwhile, the President has further stated that private burials, still with a maximum of 100 persons, can continue to be performed, adding that “beaches, pubs, cinemas and nightclubs remain closed until further notice.”
“All other institutions that have been cleared to function are to continue to do so in strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols,” he added.
As of Friday September 18, Ghana’s active cases had reduced considerably from 1,847 in three weeks to 507. This is out of a total of 470,730 tests conducted. Some 45,258 persons who tested positive have recovered from the virus with 297 persons, a great majority of them with underlying illnesses, such as hypertension, diabetes, chronic liver disease and asthma, dead.
There are, currently, some regions in the country without active cases while Greater Accra, Eastern, Ashanti and Central Regions account for about 80 percent of the active cases.