As Covid-19 cases drastically reduce, with treatment centres now empty, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has further relaxed the protocols put in place to protect Ghanaians at the height of the pandemic.
Ghana’s total active case count as of Friday, March 25 2022, stood at 72. The country currently has no severe or critically ill persons.
“With countries in the ECOWAS Community, especially in our neighbouring countries, presently, like us, recording very low levels of infections, and having significant numbers of our people vaccinated, and on the advice of the national COVID-19 Taskforce and the health experts, I have taken the decision to revise the COVID-19 Restrictions, enacted under E.I. 64,” the President said yesterday.
In his 28th update on Ghana’s enhanced response to the coronavirus pandemic, President Akufo-Addo disclosed that from today, “all land and sea borders will be opened. Fully vaccinated travellers will be allowed entry through the land and sea borders without a negative PCR test result from the country of origin. Citizens and foreign residents in Ghana, who are not fully vaccinated, will have to produce a negative 48-hour PCR test result, and will be offered vaccination on arrival.”
He added: “Fully vaccinated travellers into Ghana will not take PCR tests from the country of embarkation to allow them entry into the country through the KIA, and will not be tested on arrival. Citizens and foreign residents in Ghana, who are not fully vaccinated, would, however, need to provide a negative PCR test result of not more than 48-hours, will undergo an antigen test upon arrival at KIA, and will be offered vaccination there. Ghana’s Foreign Missions have been instructed to make vaccination a requirement for visa acquisition.”
The President also indicated that restrictions which were placed on certain activities in the country had also been relaxed. “… the wearing of facemasks is no longer mandatory. I encourage all of you, though, to continue to maintain enhanced hand hygiene practices, and avoid overcrowded gatherings. All in-person activities, such as those that take place in churches, mosques, conferences, workshops, private parties and events, cinemas and theatres may resume at full capacity, as long as the audience and/or participants are fully vaccinated. Hand washing and hand sanitising points should be made available at these venues,” he said.
The President added that “outdoor functions at sporting events, entertainment spots, political rallies and funerals may resume at full capacity, again, as long as all persons at these events are fully vaccinated.”
He however said Government would continue to engage religious and traditional leaders, agencies and institutions to encourage their congregants, subjects and citizens, respectively, to be vaccinated, to help achieve the 20 million target by June 2022.
Ghana has currently vaccinated about 13.1 million people as against the country’s target of vaccinating 20 million of the population to achieve herd immunity. According to the President, while the country’s initial challenge was to secure enough vaccines to meet this target, “we have, so far, acquired nearly 29 million vaccine doses in the country”.
Meanwhile, Ghana is in the process of establishing a National Vaccine Institute to deal with vaccine related matters in the country. “We have committed twenty-five million dollars ($25 million) to develop our domestic vaccine production capability, and facilitate the capacity of domestic pharmaceutical companies to fill, finish and package mRNA COVID-19, malaria, tuberculosis and other vaccines, as a first step towards vaccine production,” he added.
The President, in relaxing the restrictions, also outlined some measures he took to protect Ghanaians from the pandemic, expressing commitment to replicate same should any such unfortunate disaster befall the country.
“Fellow Ghanaians, undoubtedly, like in every country in the world, the effects of the pandemic have been devastating for us, in Ghana. We have felt the brunt of COVID-19, with every aspect of national life affected. I did say at the height of the pandemic that ‘we know what to do to bring the economy back to life; but what we do not know is how to bring people back to life’. We, thus, had to take drastic steps to protect lives and livelihoods by suspending, for the years 2020 and 2021, our pursuit of fiscal responsibility, which had made the Ghanaian economy the poster boy of rapid economic growth in the world in 2017, 2018, and 2019,” he said.