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Ghana coronavirus: 5,127 cases; Obuasi becomes latest hotspot

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April 12: Cases hit 5,127; gold-rich Obuasi new hotspot

Ghana’s case statistics passed the 5,000 mark after 427 new cases were recorded according to head of the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Aboagye. The case count is now at 5,127.

Speaking on the Tema fish country incident, he said aggressive contact tracing and follow ups were ongoing in Tema.

Of the new cases, the Ashanti region recorded 307 new cases. Out of which 272 were from Obuasi, the gold-rich town. “Obuasi is now the hottest spot where we have massive search and identification ongoing,” he added.

Meanwhile General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), Dr. Justice Yankson has cautioned against a possible surge in the number of virus-related deaths in the country.

“If we don’t take time and our health system is overwhelmed, a lot of people won’t get access to health care and even the deaths that we are worried about could go up,” he told local outlet Citi TV.

He added: “Gradually every fabric is being affected by COVID-19 in relation to gender, geographical location, among others. When you juxtapose the increasing number to the rate at which we are growing to the sort of [health] facilities we have, then you can realize that we are in trouble.”

April 11: Cases hit 4,700; president addresses nation

President Nana Akufo-Addo on Sunday delivered a national address giving updates on COVID-19 and announcing a raft of actions in the area of containment of spread and infection.

The 21-minute address touched on amongst others: the jumbo infection recorded at a fish factory in the industrial city of Tema late last week. “All 533 persons were infected by one person,” the president said without giving any further details.

He said that the 533 positive cases, which represents around 11.3% of Ghana’s total infections, were part of a backlog of about 921 cases going back as far as April 26 that are only recently being reported.

“The implementation of our strategy of aggressively tracing, testing and treating is our surest way of rooting out the virus,” Akufo-Addo said.

He announced an extension of the ban on public gatherings, it will now extend until the end of May when new directives will be given. Schools and universities will remain closed.

Current case statistics as at Sunday May 10 were: 4,700 confirmed cases after 533 new cases – the figure represents the highest number of infections in West Africa. Nigeria is second with 4,388 cases.

22 people have died of coronavirus-related causes, while 494 have recovered. Ghana has undertaken 160,501 tests since the outbreak, a figure the president touted as highest per million people than any other country in Africa.

On the subject of politicizing the virus fight, the president took a swipe at the opposition led by former president John Mahama, who have been critical of government’s response to the pandemic.

“I know some political actors will want you to believe that our current numbers represent a failure on the part of Government. Do not begrudge them. They need to make such comments for their political survival.

“On the contrary, we must be emboldened in the knowledge that the 4,700 persons infected, so far, with the virus, have been identified, taken out of the population, isolated and are being treated,” he indicated.

Akufo-Addo noted, “this virus, as we have seen the world over, is no respecter of persons, and has wreaked its havoc on every country on the planet. We can defeat it if we continue to look out for one another, and remain each other’s keeper. We are fighting a common enemy, and it is imperative that we do not allow religious, ethnic or political differences to get in the way of certain victory.”

He continued: “So, we cannot allow a few persons, who wish to use these differences to scuttle our collective fight, to succeed. Over the course of our history as a people, we have had to overcome several trials and tribulations: slavery, imperialism, colonialism, tyranny and dictatorship, and we have overcome them all so that, with the help of the Almighty, we are, today, building a free, independent State, a State that, despite the urgency of the crisis, is governed by democratic institutions, and respect for fundamental human rights, especially freedom of speech.”

May 10: 4,263 cases, Accra prison ‘infected’

Ghana’s case statistics as of close of day May 9 stood at 3,263 according tallies released by the health service. It represents 251 cases after the spike of late last week.

The recovery tally stood at 378 with four additional deaths bringing the tally to 22. The spike of 900+ cases reinvigorated the political back and forth between government the the main opposition.

Ex-president John Dramani Mahama in a tweet jabbed government saying it had failed citizens. “Fear gripped many homes last night when the latest confirmed cases were released. And that is understandable. #COVID19 is real, my brothers and sisters.

“I want to encourage you to protect yourself. Regular hand washing with soap & under running water is a must. Stay Home but if you have to go out for any reason including work, wear your mask, take along a hand sanitizer, & always disinfect commonly used and touched surfaces,” he posted on social media.

Local media outlets reported yesterday that police in the capital confirmed that more inmates across the Greater Accra Region had contracted the virus.

“Some of the inmates have already contracted the disease so we have separated them from the fresh suspects who would come into our custody. I can’t mention the number off-head but they have been taken to isolation centres.”

“If you listened to the news carefully, you will hear that two Nigeriens who were in our custody have been discharged having testing negative. I cannot talk about the others,” regional police chief Fred Adu Anim told the press.

May 9: 900+ new cases, tally hits 4,012

Ghana returned to most impacted West African country after authorities disclosed a record one-day increase of over 900 cases late Friday.

The current tallies stand at 4,012 with 18 deaths and 323 recoveries. The figures have triggered talk of whether the government was right to lift a lockdown imposed in three hotspots back in April.

The president insisted that the decision to lift the measure was based on data and science but the spike has led to questions being asked especially on social media.

Meanwhile the issue of the COVID-19 combat being politicised continues to rage as government and main opposition NDC continue to spar on the subject. The NDC have insisted that the government has relegated science to the backburner in dealing with the crisis.

Responding to the issue, a deputy information minister told a local radio station, Citi FM, that the opposition’s claim which also adds that “President Akufo-Addo seems more interested in his re-election than in the safety and life of Ghanaians” is false and without basis, Pius Hadzide is quoted to have said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement on Friday confirming that Ghanaians stranded abroad will be repartriated on an as and when basis. Ghana was among countries that refused to return students from Wuhan. The Ministry was also among the first to remonstrate over reports that Africans were being mistreated in Chinese city of Guangzhou back in April.

May 8: Madagascar potion, GES timetable, cabinet retreat

Ghana confirmed that it has been offered COVID-Organics, the purported Malagasy cure for COVID-19. Authorities added that the consignment will be referred to the Food and Drugs Authority, FDA, for scientific analysis. Director of the Ghana Health Service addressed the issue at a media interaction yesterday, May 7.

Meanwhile the Education Service, GES, has also released a time table for distance learning for pupils and students affected by the COVID-19 school break.

The new time table has only English and Maths lessons for pre-school and lower primary (KG – P3), while upper primary (P4 – P6) has lessons in English, Maths and Science.

For Junior High School levels 1 – 3, there are lessons in English, Maths, Science and Social Studies, while at the senior high school level compulsory subjects – Maths & Science, and English & Social Studies – already ongoing, will continue to be offered.

The televised sessions are airing on DStv 315, GOtv 150, and StarTimes 312. Meanwhile, a three-day COVID-19 cabinet retreat announced by Information Minister earlier this week enters day two today ahead of its scheduled conclusion tomorrow.

May 7: 3,091 cases, police rolls out mass tests

Ghana’s case statistics stood at 3,091 in the latest tallies released early Thursday by the Ghana Health Service. Recoveries have reached 303 with 18 deaths.

On Thursday, the Ghana Police service disclosed to local media that it had begun testing all its personnel for COVID-19. Weeks back, the service announced that some 33,000 personnel deployed on lockdown duties were to be tested.

Director of Public Affairs of the Service, Sheila Abayie-Buckman said results showed that a small number of officers had been infected. “Testing is actually ongoing for all police officers, that is what we have arrived at now and they are being done in batches,” she revealed.

She told Joy News that the nature of work some officers undertook made them prime test candidated adding that those who tested negative for the virus have resumed work fully.

“We have been advised that depending on the nature of involvement in one exercise or the other, your self-isolation did not mean locking yourself up in a room. There are however a few people who may not have to come into contact with others because they are self-isolating.”

May 4: Mask-less ‘blocked from Accra Central

Persons without face masks are being prevented by police from accessing the capital’s Central Business District, the local news outlet, Citi Newsroom reported on Tuesday.

The ‘no mask no entry’ operation is in line with enforcement of COVID-19 directives issued by the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council and Ministry of Health. The wearing of masks in public was made compulsory days after the lifting of a lockdown by President Akufo-Addo.

An Accra Regional police commander is quoted to have said personnel were primarily engaging and encouraging those coming into the CBD to wear the mask with recalcitrant ones sent back. Commercial vehicles are being checked for non-compliant passengers at entry points.

“We are engaging the people, encouraging them to wear the mask and in a way, we are also enforcing it. When you are around this street, if you are not with it, we engage you, explain to you and encourage you to use it.

“Where you are adamant, we advise that you go home and stay. That is what we are doing and it is in line with the protocols towards COVID-19,” commander Sulaimana Sulley said. Ghana is awaiting release of updated COVID-19 figures. Government releases date every other day.

May 2: Cases rise to 2,169

Ghana’s official May 2 case tally is at 2,169 only one case behind Nigeria’s 2,170. The figure represents 95 new cases from the last tally of 2,074 as of April 30.

Recoveries are up to 229 – an increase of 17 – with 18 deaths so far, the Ministry of Information reported on latest figures received from the Health Ministry.

Nigeria remains the region’s most impacted with Ghana close behind. Ghana is also Africa’s 6th most affected overall.

Meanwhile, the army chief on May 1 visited the site of works on Ghana’s infectious disease isolation and treatment center in the capital Accra. Local media reports that Lt. Gen. Obed Boamah lauded the progress of work during his visit.

Work on the project, which is being sponsored by the Ghana Covid-19 Private Sector Fund, started two weeks ago with the Ghana Army providing engineering, logistical and security support, among others. It is due for completion by the end of May, state-run Daily Graphic reported.

May 1: Ghana consolidates top spot in West Africa

Ghana’s official case count as of April 30 stood at 2,074 with 17 deaths and 212 recoveries according to official data. The figure means Ghana maintains top spot in the West African subregion.

The country also beats Cameroon to become the second most impacted in sub-Saharan Africa only behind South Africa. Ghana recorded an increase of 795 cases over a week, i.e. between April 24 – 30.

Meanwhile, the issue of political uncertainty surrounding the upcoming December polls was raised in parliament by the Majority Leader who also doubles as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.

Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu said the parliament need to liaise with the election body and other stakeholders on how to proceed if the pandemic eventually scuttles the keenly awaited vote.

“Mr. Speaker, we all have to look at the Electoral Commission to put in the required measures towards the conduct of the election because, the constitution as we all recognize is a bit ambivalent beyond January 7, 2020, when elections cannot be conducted or even in the case of any force Majeure who should be the President.

“There is a bit of some lacuna except to say that for Parliament that in case of any emergence, provision is made and expressed under the constitution on how the life of Parliament is extended by one year in any event not more than four years everything by 12 months. In that period, who becomes the Head of State?

“Is it the Speaker in the absence of the President and Vice President, that is a bit troubling to us as a nation. “In any event, the same constitution provides that when the speaker acts as President within three months, there should be the conduct of an election to elect a President.

“So there is a bit of conflicting situation in the constitution. So Mr. Speaker until all of us agree on something else, noting responsible could be done so I hope that the appropriate thing is done.”

The ban on public gathering which is still in place despite the lifting of a lockdown means that even electoral campaigns are not feasible. The Electoral Commission drew the ire of a section of Ghanaians when it decided to proceed with controversial voter registration in one region.

At the time when the coronavirus cases were rising, opposition voices and a number of civil society organization described the EC’s continued operation as reckless and a danger to the public. A court ruled against it.

April 24: Ghana records 125 more cases

The coronavirus case count in Ghana has reached 1,279. Which indicates an increase of 125 new cases since the last tally was released on April 22. The previous increase was by 112, the first since the lifting of a partial lockdown.

The country has also recorded four more recoveries to bring the tally to 124 whiles a new death takes the tally to 10. Two regions recorded their index cases, Oti and Western North regions with the Greater Accra region maintaining its yawning lead as the epicenter.

Ghana is sub-Saharan Africa’s third most impacted country with the current tally behind South Africa and Cameroon with 3,953 and 1,430 cases respectively.

The West African country has in the past overtaken three other countries to becomes the region’s most impacted. Senegal, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast have in the past been the top infected till recently.

West Africa’s most impacted as of April 24

Ghana – 1,279
Ivory Coast – 1,004
Nigeria – 981
Guinea – 862
Niger – 671
Burkina Faso – 616
Senegal – 545

Police deployed to hot spots to be tested

Over 8,000 police officers are to be tested for COVID-19 after they were deployed in virus hot spots during a three-week lockdown that was lifted last Sunday by President Akufo-Addo. They were part of 30,000 police – military deployment.

The figure represents about one-third of officers deployed over the period to enforce the measure meant to curb spread of the virus which has so far affected over 1,000 people in the West African nation.

The lockdown on the capital and two other metropolis was lifted at a time many expected an extension but government insists the lifting is backed by data and improved testing admitting an economic aspect too.

However, schools remain closed, authorities are enforcing a ban on public gatherings, borders remain closed and the wearing of face masks decreed across the Greater Accra region as at April 22.

About 800 people are facing prosecution for infractions during the three-week period. Ghana has recorded 1,154 cases of COVID-19 – making it West Africa’s most impacted – recoveries are at 120 including nine deaths as of April 24.

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April 23: Capital Accra to enforce wearing of masks

Days after a three-week lockdown was lifted on the capital Accra and two other metropolis, the Greater Accra Regional minister has announced a compulsory use of face masks in public.

An April 22 statement signed by minister Ishmael Ashitey said the regional coordinating council had met in an emergency meeting as part of efforts to enforce the president’s directives on social distancing and the wearing of masks.

Some of the measures agreed include the following: Mandatory wearing of face masks in public across the region, sensitization on the measure and on social / physical distancing by sub-regional authorities.

Sub-regional authorities to educate traders on the measures above, commercial drivers to only allow passengers with masks on board, “NO FACE MASK, NO ENTRY” signs to be posted outside public places like offices, lorry stations, shops, markets, malls, banks, pharmacies etc.

Satellite markets are also to be created to help decongest main markets and a temporary ban imposed on all “Special Market Days” in the region.

Tally hits 1,154 with 21 more recoveries

The coronavirus case count in Ghana has increased to 1154. Which indicates an increase of 112 new cases since the last tally was released on April 19 when the president lifted a partial lockdown.

The country has also recorded 120 recoveries. This was announced by the Ghana Health Service at a press briefing on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in Accra.

Meanwhile, the presidential advisor on health, Dr Nsiah-Asare, has in an interview indicated that 10% of the Ghanaian population may probably test positive for the virus before the country’s case count on coronavirus gets to the peak of the infection. Ghana’s population is estimated at over 28 million.

A day after meeting members of the Ghana Medical Association, the president met with the Council of State – an advisory body of eminent leaders, to brief them on issues surrounding the COVID-19 fight.

Meanwhile, the capital Accra and capital of the resource-rich Ashanti region,Kumasi; breezed into life after the lifting of a three-week lockdown. The two areas along with Kasoa metropolis in the Central Region were locked down last month.

The lifting of the measure, the first across Africa, has since elicited exchanges over its propriety but the president defended the decision stressing that it was based on data and science and that it was to help cushion people in the informal sector.

April 21: President defends lifting of lockdown as opposition NDC kicks

President Akufo-Addo on Monday defended the decision of government to lift a partial lockdown on the capital and two other key metropolis in the West African country.

The president told member of the Ghana Medical Association, GMA, during a meeting at the presidency that data on testing and contact tracing along with treatment of confirmed cases informed the decision announced on Sunday, April 19.

He also stressed that a crucial plank of the economy, the informal sector, were also a major factor to the decision, which has so far divided opinion in the country.

He said in part: “we are also looking at the demography of the disease itself, in terms of the sick, in terms of death.

“What we will like to do, as decision makers, is to balance all these factors and to come to a conclusion and a set of solutions that will benefit our people and of course, protect the economy of our country. All of these have been the basket of issues that have led us to take this decision.”

As President of the Republic, he continued: “I cannot ignore the impact that this lockdown is having on several constituencies of our nation, especially the informal workers, a very important part of our economy, who need to have a day out in the market or otherwise in order to provide for their families, who were having a lot of difficulty.”

The GMA leadership said they were ready to play their part in ensuring that Ghana beats the virus. There has been a series of reactions to the lifting of the lockdown across a broad section of the society.

The Trade Union Congress voiced support for the lifting of the measure. Head of a think tank, the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, also voiced backing for the move. People jubilated in parts of the country when the lockdown was lifted.

The main opposition National Democratic Congress, NDC, is however unhappy at the development with its spokesman accusing the president of not valuing the lives of Ghanaians at a time when confirmed cases continued to rise.

Meanwhile, the NDC’s current leader and former president John Dramani Mahama continues his food distribution efforts in the Greater Accra Region. Mahama has also made donations to to a number of public hospitals across the country.

One of the country’s renowned pathologists, Prof Agyemang Badu Akorsah, bemoaned the lifting stressing that conditions pointed to the need for the lockdown to have been extended.

April 19: Ghana lifts partial lockdown

Ghana’s president on Sunday lifted targeted lockdown on two major regions in the country citing improved testing of the coronavirus pandemic across the West African country.

In the over half-an-hour address delivered to the nation, the president also announced that Ghana’s tally had passed the 1,000 mark. Ghana becomes the first African country to not extend but lift a lockdown.

Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and more recently Zimbabwe have all extended lockdowns aimed at curbing spread of the pandemic. Government however warned that lockdowns could be imposed in hotspots if need be.

Some key facts from the address included:

  • Ghana has traced 86,000 contacts so far
  • 68,500 of the number have since been tested
  • 18,000 test results expected
  • 1,042 (1.5%) confirmed cases as of April 19
  • 67,549 (98.5% negative) tested negative
  • 930 people responding to treatment at home or government facilities

“Indeed Ghana is the only other country in Africa to have conducted more than 60,000 tests and we are ranked number pone in Africa in administering of tests per million people. The decision to impose restrictions on movement was backed by the data at hand and our next course of action is backed by data and by science,” the president said.

April 18: Ghana shoots to sub-Saharan Africa’s third most impacted

After a day without release of figures, i.e. April 17; government released latest figures relating to the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana. The case count stands at 834 which indicates an increase of 193 patients.

The cases were recorded across the country according to officials. There was also good news for recoveries which also went from 83 to 99 indicating an increase of 16.

The new case count means that Ghana is sub-Saharan Africa’s third most impacted nation behind South Africa with over 2,700 cases and Cameroon with 1,017 confirmed cases.

Meanwhile Pariliament has approved a $1bn interest-free loan facility given by the International Monetary Fund, IMF, earlier this week to help cushion the country from the effects of the ongoing pandemic, local news outlet Citi News reported

Ghana was at high risk of debt distress, the IMF said in a statement. It said the large disbursement of emergency aid would help the West African countries address urgent fiscal and balance of payments needs, and catalyze support from other development partners.

April 17: Recoveries recover by 66

Ghana’s COVID-19 statistics as of April 16 stood at 641, with five new cases recorded, 83 recoveries and eight deaths, the information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah told a press briefing in the capital Accra.

The figure especially relative to recoveries was the biggest one-day rise. The latest figure of 83 meant that 66 more recoveries had been added to the paltry 17 of the day before.

The tally is still on the low side comparative to other countries that have recorded 400 cases and above. Ivory remains West Africa’s most impacted country along with Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Niger and Senegal.

WEST AFRICA’S MOST IMPACTED NATIONS: As of April 7 (Case, recovery)

  • Ivory Coast = 688, 193
  • Ghana = 641, 83
  • Niger = 609, 105
  • Burkina Faso = 546, 257
  • Nigeria = 442, 152
  • Senegal = 355, 194

April 15: Ghana’s coronavirus figures: galloping cases, snail-pace recoveries

The West African nation of Ghana is one of the continent’s most impacted countries in terms of coronavirus infection. The country has recorded 636 confirmed cases (as of April 15). The first cases were confirmed on March 12, 2020.

The government has been lauded for its progress in the area of testing, Ghana placed a distant second behind South Africa according to a recent report by Worldometer – a site that specializes in global statistical aggregation.

Three day boom – 408 to 636

Ghana as of April 11, 2020 had tested over 37,000 people and at the time had 408 cases. Ghana was sandwiched between South Africa and Egypt in first and third spots with 73,000+ tests (1,265 cases) and 25,000 tests (1,204) cases respectively.

Three days later, Ghana’s tally had increased to 636, the second highest in the sub-region only behind neighbouring Ivory Coast which had recorded only two cases more with 638 cases. Ghana’s biggest jump over the three-day period being 158 cases from 408 (April 11) to 566 (April 12).

By April 14, another 70 cases have been recorded bringing the tally to 636. Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah in reacting to the increase in cases stressed that it was largely due to proactive measures by government.

He wrote in a tweet thread of April 13: “The mix of measures to aggressively go in search of it while limiting importation is the reason for which we have found 274 more cases.

“The enhanced tracing and testing coupled with the mandatory quarantine systems is yielding results. Had we not adopted this approach, the 274 extra will be with us potentially continuously spreading the virus.” That was before 70 more cases brought the tally to the current 636.

Recoveries in need of recovery

Recoveries in relation to COVID-19 are a key pointer to how treatment of cases is progressing. As a norm across most African countries, recoveries outnumber deaths – in fact, the same is the case globally.

But Ghana’s recovery figures are much lower compared to countries that have passed the 500 mark in terms of infections. Senegal at a point Africa’s most impacted currently reports 299 cases with 183 recoveries, two deaths – the first being a celebrated son of the land, Pape Diouf.

Burkina Faso took over from Burkina with a surge in cases weeks back. Yet Ghana’s northern neighbour’s tallies stand at 528 cases, 177 recoveries and 30 deaths. Ivory Coast the ECOWAS leader has 638 cases, 114 recoveries and 6 deaths.

With 636 cases, Ghana’s 17 recoveries is dwarfed by neighbours whose recoveries are in the hundreds. Nigeria with 373 cases has recorded 99 recoveries and 11 deaths, Niger with 570 cases had also recorded 90 recoveries. One thing is clear, and that is, in the absence of a boom in recoveries, Ghana’s recoveries need recovery.

Worryingly yet, according to the Ghana Health Service website, only two out of the total number of active cases are
in critical condition.

Quick Statistics: Ghana COVID-19 file

  • Confirmed case = 636
  • Recoveries = 17
  • Deaths recorded = 8
  • Regions impacted: 10 out of 16
  • Most impacted region: Greater Accra Region

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