Ghana is West Africa’s most impacted nation behind Nigeria, at a point in May 2020, Ghana led the regional case load. June has started with progressive lifting of more virus restrictions.
President Akufo-Addo in his tenth address announced that whiles borders remained closed, some categories of academic institutions are allowed to resume, religious places can also reopen with strict conditions and the observance of health protocols.
Social gatherings -weddings, funerals etc. – are to be allowed under certain conditions – among others with maximum 100 participants. As the 2020 polls loom, even political activity is allowed to be undertaken.
This article will be focused on tracking case increases and major developments from the West African country. It will build on our April – May 2020 updates page.
July 17: 26,125 cases; health workers infected
Over 2,000 health workers have tested positive for COVID-19 since the index case was recorded in he country, head of the Ghana Health Service disclosed on Thursday.
Patrick Kuma-Aboagye added that six out of a total of 2,065 workers have since succumbed to the virus whiles 1,870 others had recovered. The rest are under treatment at isolation centres.
The Greater Accra region, which includes the capital city, has recorded the highest number of infections among health workers. The region accounts for over 50% of the caseload with 14,391 cases.
Health workers have long called for more protection as they work in the front line of the virus combat. Government has announced tax breaks and other perks. Ghana is one of few African countries where health officials have not gone on strike over conditions of service. Records indicate that Ghana has so far conducted 339,491 COVID-19 tests.
- Confirmed cases = 26,125
- Active cases = 3,716
- Recoveries = 22,270
- Number of deaths = 139
John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of July 16, 2020
July 13: 24,518 cases; recoveries pass 20,000
Ghana’s case load at close of the weekend stood at 24,518 but worthy of note was the fact that recoveries had hit the 20,000 mark. The Ghana Health Service reported 20,187 recoveries with 139 deaths. The active cases stood at 4,192.
The recovery rate is one of the highest across the continent. Especially comparing it with countries whose case load has passed the 10,000 mark.
The back and forth surrounding the reopening of secondary schools and the ongoing voter registration exercise continues. Despite infections in a number of schools, the government insists the final year students are set to write the West African Examination Council, WAEC; papers.
The Electoral Commission, EC; in a statement over the weekend stressed its commitment to enforcing virus protocols across the country as it registers voters for a new voter roll ahead of December 2020 polls.
“Safety of applicants is foremost in the registration process and the Commission will go any length to observe the measures outline by the Ghana Health Service.
“The Commission reiterates its commitment to the safety protocols and urges applicants to collaborate with registration officials by observing safety protocols, which include wearing face masks, washing hands, checking temperature and sanitizing hands before and after the registration exercise in order to keep safe,” an EC statement of July 11 read in part.
- Confirmed cases = 24,518
- Active cases = 4,192
- Recoveries = 20,187
- Number of deaths = 139
Ghana Health Service stats valid as of July 12, 2020
July 9: 22,822 cases; 90% Education Ministry staff infected
Education Minister Mathew Opoku Prempeh on Wednesday disclosed on a local radio station that 90% of staff at the Ministry had tested positive for COVID-19.
According to him, a mass testing regime was implemented after he tested positive for the virus weeks back and was admitted to the leading virus treatment center in the capital, Accra.
He told Peace FM’s listeners: “After my second result came out as positive, testing was conducted on all staff at the ministry and the results showed that out of every 50 persons, about 45 had contracted the virus. Most of them are asymptomatic so they are isolating at home.
“For all the 52 years of my life, I’ve never been admitted to the hospital before and it was not a pleasant experience. The disease is very real and I don’t wish it on even my foe,” he said.
The Ghana Education Service, GES, is however adamant that senior high schools will remain open and also conduct terminal examination for final year students. THis is despite advice by the medical association to the contrary.
“We’re going ahead with the WASSCE, we’ve not received any directive to hold on. We are going to conduct the exams and WAEC is preparing for that.”
“We have holding rooms in all the schools and we have trained health personnel there so when they come across any COVID-19 symptoms, the person is isolated. We have also mapped all schools to a health facility,” GES PRO told local media.
- Confirmed cases = 22,822
- Active cases = 5,129
- Recoveries = 17,564
- Number of deaths = 129
Ghana Health Service stats valid as of July 9, 2020
Ghana’s COVID-19 UPDATE
— Ministry of Health, Ghana (@mohgovgh) July 9, 2020
July 8: 21,968 cases; CJ self-isolates, ministry closes
Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah has gone into self-isolation according to local media portals. The Judicial secretary in a statement said the CJ was doing so “in compliance with COVID-19 protocols.”
President Akufo-Addo is still isolating after he was exposed to the virus over the weekend. Education and Health Ministers have been released from the University of Ghana Medical Center, UGMC; where they were receiving virus treatment.
The call for high schools to close have been heightened after Accra Girls Senior High School recorded infections earlier this week. The minority in parliament is calling for the closure of schools whiles the reported virus-related death of a student has led to the dismissal of a school head in the Ashanti region.
Employees of the Ministry of Finance have been asked to work from home as the ministry waits for results of tests taken by all staff. An internal memo to all staff said staff who test positive for the virus will be informed “and will receive the necessary care from appropriate health authorities designated by the Minister of Health.”
“In view of the preparations towards the mid-year review of the budget, a core team of staff will work from approved location to complete the Mid-Year Review,” the memo also noted.
While the Finance Ministry is taking a precautionary measure, other outfits like the Ghana Cocoa Board’s Accra office was closed after infections as was the case with Tema office of the Ghana Grid Company, GridCo; and the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited, BOST.
Meanwhile, a one-time Finance Minister and current “Senior Minister” at the office of the president Yaw Osafo-Maafo became the latest top government official to test positive for the virus, government confirmed his infection on Tuesday.
- Confirmed cases = 21,968
- Active cases = 4,683
- Recoveries = 17,156
- Number of deaths = 129
John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 12, 2020
July 6: 20,085; prez self-isolates
The number of cases in the country passed the 20,000 mark. Only the fourth African country to hit that figure – behind South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria.
Ghana has thus consolidated its place as Africa’s fourth most-impacted country. Recoveries are heading to the 15,000 mark whiles deaths are at 122 according to records released on Sunday, July 5.
President Akufo-Addo is on self-isolation after a close aide tested positive for COVID-19, the information ministry announced over the weekend.
Parents have thronged a school in the capital Accra after reports emerged that six students of Accra Girls High School had contracted the virus. A batch of final year students resumed classes last week as government continued to ease lockdown measures.
Meanwhile, concerns continue to be raised over ongoing voter registration exercise which many fear could lead to spike in cases across the country. Most people visiting these centers have openly flouted mask wearing orders and physical distancing rules.
Total confirmed cases = 20,085
Total recoveries = 14,870
Total deaths = 122
Active cases = 5,093
Figures valid as of close of day July 5, 2020
Parents of final year and Gold Track second year students of the Accra Girls Senior High School are demanding an immediate release of their wards from the school following an alleged outbreak of COVID-19 in the school, reportedly contracted by six students and one teacher. pic.twitter.com/b6RsdjvttF
— Ghana News Agency (@GHANANEWSAGENCY) July 6, 2020
July 2: 18,134 cases; protocol flouting in voter registration
The Electoral Commission insists it has done well in managing coronavirus safety protocols at registration centers amid ongoing voter registration exercise across the country.
The EC got the apex court’s go-ahead to conduct a new registration exercise after a case brought by the main opposition NDC was dismissed. Concerns continue to be raised over the conduct of people who went to centers to register.
Photos shared on social media showed that virus protocols were being flouted in many places with people crowded at some centers with disregard for basic social distancing. Most of them also did not have masks even though it is an offence per a presidential Executive Instrument.
Cases in the Greater Accra region have passed the 10,000 mark with the Ashanti region in a distant second with over 3,600 cases, the oil-rich Western Region completes the top three regions with over 1,550 cases as of today.
Confirmed cases = 18,630
- Active cases = 4,467
- Recoveries = 14,046
- Number of deaths = 117
Ghana Health Service stats valid as of July 1, 2020
— UTV Ghana (@utvghana) July 2, 2020
June 25: 15,473 cases; mask arrests, apex court ruling
Case load as of today hit a total of 15,473 cases with 11,431 recoveries and 950 deaths, according to stats released Friday evening by the Ghana Health Service. The new cases were 460 which tally brings the active cases to 3,947.
Arrests over lack of wearing of masks also dominated” local news headlines”:https://t.co/mFVtCxfZtI?amp=1 as people bemoaned the police for highhandedness in the implementation of an Executive Instrument that made mask wearing in public an obligation.
The Greater Accra regional police disclosed that it undertook an operation in which some people were arrest in the central business district of the capital for being without masks. The arrests came a day after the government said it was engaging the police on some areas of mask wearing.
Wearing of mask in Cars: Government engaging Police on E.I 164 pic.twitter.com/EpLZuxgQi8
— Ministry of Information (@moigovgh) June 23, 2020
A major news development is the Supreme Court’s decision today to throw out a suit against the election body’s decision to compile a new voters register ahead of December 2020 general elections.
The Electoral Commission, weeks back completed a nationwide pilot for the exercise. Opponents of the exercise have cited rising virus numbers and the lack of adherence to social distancing and hygiene protocols.
The ruling party is in favour of the move whiles the main opposition were stiffly against it. Currently there are limits on public gatherings even though political and other religious meetings are allowed under strict conditions.
- Confirmed cases = 15,473
- Active cases = 3,947
- Recoveries = 11,431
- Number of deaths = 95
John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 12, 2020
June 22: 14,154 cases; how recoveries jumped
Ghana recorded a boom in recoveries over the weekend as over 6,000 patients were added to the tally which now stands at 10,473 according to authorities.
“Ghana has adopted the WHO’s new COVID-19 recovery protocol, thus leaving it with a total recovery record of 10, 473 patients,” the president clarified in an address.
There are currently 14,154 cases as of Sunday June 21 when president Akufo-Addo delivered his latest address on measures to mitigate the spread of the virus as the country continues with a phased reopening.
After the reopening of places of worship was announced in his lat address, Sunday’s address centered much on the reopening of Senior High Schools for final year students. Some of the major takeaways included that government was absorbing the final exam fees.
Government to provide enough food to students on campus through the National Food Buffer Stock Company and that all schools had been disinfected ahead of today’s reopening.
Finalists and Second Year Gold Track students of the Accra Academy Senior High School started arriving as early as 0630 hours today, June 22, to complete the semester course and exit examinations.#GHnewsagency pic.twitter.com/uf03HfzDct
— Ghana News Agency (@GHANANEWSAGENCY) June 22, 2020
- Confirmed cases = 14,154
- Active cases = 3,596
- Recoveries = 10,473
- Number of deaths = 85
John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 21, 2020
June 15: 13,203 cases; law enacted to penalize mask flouters
Case load hit a total of 13,203 cases with 4,548 recoveries and 70 deaths, according to stats released Friday evening by the Ghana Health Service. The new cases were 274 which tally brings the active cases to 8,585.
The non-wearing of face masks in public is now punishable by law per an Executive Instrument, E.I. 164, signed by President Akufo-Addo on June 15.
Flouters of the directive could face a jail term of between four and 10 years or pay a fine of between GHS12,000 and GHS60,000 or both.
The EI says the mandatory wearing of face masks will be enforced for a three-month period as parts of measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah urged local authorities to do their best to ensure compliance of the wearing of face masks.
“The Executive Instrument that makes the wearing of face masks mandatory is out and while we salute the efforts of those who have already started higher levels of compliance, we want to encourage those who have not that the EI is out and they are expected as regional ministers, MMDCEs to step up enforcement within their own jurisdiction,” he said at a press briefing on Thursday.
Section 6 of Act 1012 states that “a person who fails to comply with the restrictions imposed under the Executive Instrument issued under subsection 1 of Section 2 commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 1,000 penalty unit (Gh¢12,000) and not more than 5,000 penalty units (Gh¢ 60,000) or to a term of imprisonment not less than four years and not more than 10 years or to both.”
Section 4 (1) of the E.I. 164 states that the police have the authority to make random checks to “ensure enforcement compliance”
Total of 13,203 COVID-19 confirmed cases with 4,548 Recoveries and 70 Deaths
New Cases: 274
— Joy 99.7 FM (@Joy997FM) June 19, 2020
June 17: 12,193 cases; health insurance boss infected
Head of Ghana’s Health Insurance Authority, NHIA, Dr Dsane-Selby announced on Monday that she had tested positive for COVID-19. She made the disclosure in an interview on a local network.
She said the decision to test was after she started experiencing tiredness, bodily pains and headaches. She asked for her ample to be taken for a test subsequent to which the positive result returned.
She went into self- isolation to prevent her from exposing others to the virus. Dr Dsane-Selby also contacted those she had come into contact with to go for voluntary testing, the Ghana News Agency added.
She becomes the fourth known government official to have tested positive for COVID-19. The first being Papa Owusu- Ankomah, Ghana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, who has since recovered.
Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu’s infection was reported last week whiles Mr Anthony K. K Sam, the Mayor of Sekondi-Takoradi, also succumbed to the disease on Friday, June 12.
Total confirmed cases = 12,193
Total recoveries = 4,326
Total deaths = 58
Active cases = 7,809
Figures valid as of close of day June 16, 2020
June 15: 11,964 cases; schools reopen, masks obligatory etc.
President Akufo-Addo on Sunday delivered an address on measures being taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus as Ghana’s case load neared 12,000. The address touched on a myriad of issues from the reopening of schools and new orders around wearing of masks.
The president also used it to reiterate his calls for the populace to take charge of their safety. He also confirmed the death vias the virus of a mayor of the oil-rich Sekondi Takoradi and infection of Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu.
The case of the minister’s infection has attracted social media debate after a journalist reported that the minister had denied he had tested positive rather that he was only resting at a major health facility in the capital, Accra.
- Confirmed cases = 11,964
- Number of deaths = 54
- Recoveries = 4,258
- Active cases = 7,652
John Hopkins Uni stats valid as of June 14, 2020
June 13: 11,118 cases, NDC advocates mass testing
Ghana’s case load as of this morning stood at 11,118 cases with the disclosure of 262 new cases. According to the Ghana Health Service (GHS), 58 more persons have recovered as the new figure in that regards increases to 3,979.
The death toll still stands at 48 whiles active cases pass the 7,000 mark reaching 7,091. The Greater Accra region accounts for 6,888 cases with the Ashanti and Western regions completing the top three slots with 1,989 and 909 cases respectively.
Multiple local media sources reported late Saturday that Health Minister Kwaku-Agyemang Manu has been infected with the virus and was currently hospitalized.
He becomes the highest profile member of government to be infected. Weeks back a top legislator alleged that infections had hit parliament but his claims were disputed by the lawmaking chamber.
Main opposition NDC’s COVID-19 technical team is advocating for mass testing as the easing of restrictions means tertiary institutions are set to open.
The team said current trends “do not suggest that students, teaching and non- teaching staff can avoid significant risk of exposure to the virus as the epidemic is not under control.” Government is on record to have insisted that mass testing was not an immediate option but that it will be considered on an as and when basis.
Citing May 2020 tallies which pointed to widespread community transmission, the NDC suggested that all students, teaching and non-teaching staff be tested “to preempt any potential spread on secondary schools and university campuses.”
Their call is in line with that of major stakeholders like the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) which proposed mass coronavirus testing of students, teaching and non-teaching staff of Senior High Schools (SHSs) before they are reopened.
June 10: Cases pass 10,000 mark as rapid test kit makers advance
Ghana reached 10,000 mark in terms of confirmed cases on Tuesday (June 9); the case load reached 10,201 with deaths still at 48, 3,755 recoveries and 6,398 active cases.
Ghana joins an exclusive club that includes South Africa (52,991 cases), Egypt (35,444 cases), Nigeria (13,464 cases) and Algeria with 10,382 cases.
The Food and Drugs Authority has confirmed that nine companies were so far seeking approval for rapid test kits for COVID-19 a process that could last between a month and two months.
One of the companies, Kumasi-based Incas Diagnostics, are diversifying from their pregnancy test kit production to focus on COVID-19 test kits which will be an antibody test kit. The company is also working with other developers across Africa on a mobile app to help trace potentially high-risk virus patients.
Incas Diagnostics founder and CEO Laud Anthony Basing told Reuters he expected its kits to cost about half as much as imported tests as they will be cutting out middlemen by producing them in Ghana.
“The app will basically work well with the rapid test kit because once classified as high risk you need to test the person,” he said, stressing the need for mass testing given that Ghana had entered community transmission stage of virus spread.
The Reuters report added that Incas’ kits, which were developed with funding from the French development agency and the Mastercard foundation, could retail for about $5 but will mostly be donated to help fight the pandemic.
June 9: 9,910 cases, bar operators appeal to govt
Ghana’s case load is heading towards the 10,000 mark; as of close of day June 8, the tally stood at 9,910. Deaths have also gone up to 48.
Over in the Ashanti Region, drinking bar and pub operators have appealed to the government to consider easing some of the restrictions to enable them to resume their operations, the Ghana News Agency reports.
According to them, the continued closure of their businesses as a result of the COVID-19 was advsersely affecting them. Emmanuel Antwi Baah, regional Chairman of Pubs and Spot Operators Association said there were ready to enforce necessary protocols and guidelines.
Restrictions on gatherings were significantly watered down in president Akufo-Addo’s tenth address which allowed social gatherings like places of worship, weddings and funerals to take place with limited attendees and the observance of strict hygiene protocols.
Mr Baah appealed to the government to extend the COVID-19 stimulus package to members of the Association to enable them to stay in business, the report added.
Total confirmed cases = 9,910
Total recoveries = 3,645
Total deaths = 48
Active cases = 6,217
June 8: 9,638 cases, govt evacuation plans
Government has confirmed that it was preparing to evacuate some Ghanaians stranded overseas due to the COVID-19 disruption.
Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway in a written response to Parliament late last week, she said the ministry and relevant departments and agencies had been liaising for weeks how to undertake the phased evacuation.
There are four categories of evacuees for the purpose: those with the ability to pay, government-funded evacuation, distressed or destitute and deportees.
So far evacuations have been don from Kuwait (May 23 of 230 persons), Lagos, Mauritania, Turkey and Washington – all thigs being equal must have happened by today.
Some of the biggest evacuations being worked on are over 670 people from China and 500 form the United Arab Emirates. Ghanaians in neighbouring countries will be bussed back under special conditions considering that all borders have been and remain closed.
The first day of church reopening was on Sunday after the lifting of strict sanctions of public gathering. Only a handful churches agreed to undertake what were brief services amid the observance of health protocols as by law required.
Those that did not reopen cited the need for more time to guarantee safety of congregants. Last Friday, the situation was the same for most mosques. The national chief Imam asked that facilities remain closed even though a number of mosques went ahead with service.
Total confirmed cases = 9,638
Total recoveries = 3,636
Total deaths = 44
Active cases = 5,958
Figures valid as of close of day June 7, 2020
June 7: 9,462 cases, deaths hit 44
The Managing Director of a major private health care facility in the capital Accra reported testing positive for the virus. Elikem Tamaklo of Nyaho Hospital confirmed that he contracted the disease in the community.
The hospital located in a residential area of Accra said the MD had not been physically at post for two weeks as part of social distancing guidelines to help contain spread of COVID-19. His family was also affected and all of them were undergoing treatment, a statement said.
“I am currently doing well … The stigma that some have had to endure is unfair, unfounded and has no basis,” he told workers in a recorded video message.
“We all need to continue to do our best and remain disciplined by observing all the recommended preventive measures, such as washing hands with soap under running water, frequent use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and maintaining social distancing measured when in public and in enclosed spaces,” he added.
The elections body has meanwhile said 15 out of 16 regions have undergone a successful pilot for upcoming voters registration – back by government and opposed by opposition parties. The body has been hauled to court over its plans amid virus spread.
Ghana’s death toll whiles relatively very low, have reached 44. It remained sub 40 even when cases had passed 6,000. President Akufo-Addo weeks back thanked God for sparing Ghana huge deaths compared to other countries.
Total confirmed cases = 9,462
Total recoveries = 3,547
Total deaths = 44
Active cases = 5,871
Figures valid as of close of day June 6, 2020
June 3: 8,297 cases; govt defends ban on football
Sports Minister, Isaac Asiamah has defended government’s decision to maintain a ban on football despite the recent lifting of a raft of restrictions. He was speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday.
According to the Minister, the cost of putting necessary measures in place, from the regular disinfection of stadia to testing players, was too high. Restrictions on non-contact sports were lifted in the president’s 10th address.
“How do we disinfect all the stadia, the hotels because the players sleep there? How do we test all these players?” Asiamah quizzed.
He also pointed out that it would be near impossible to keep fans from gathering during games. “In our environment, is it possible to play football without our supporters? The figure that came out from the NSA was about GHS 60,000 per match. That’s a major challenge.”
Football is Ghana’s most followed sport. The local league only returned after a corruption probe involving the former association president Kwesi Nyantakyi caused the league to be suspended. A normalization committee took charge of affairs till a new set of executives were voted into office.
Total confirmed cases = 8,297
Total recoveries = 2,986
Total deaths = 38
Active cases = 5,273
June 2: Minister issues guidelines for churches, mosques
The Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, has expanded on a government plan for reopening of places of worship across the country.
He was speaking at a multi-sectoral press briefing on Monday, a day after the president delivered his tenth COVID-19 address to the nation. Some of the key planks of the directives include:
- As part of the guidelines, every church or religious body is to registered with the Registrar General’s Department and with the respective Municipal, Metropolitan or District Assembly.
- The religious bodies are expected to observe preventive protocols, including providing thermometer guns or thermal scanners to check the temperature of congregants at entry points of all venues
- Enforce a ‘No mask: No entry’ Policy, provide adequate waste management facilities and toilet facilities for use by members.
- Cleaning and disinfection of frequently used communal places like toilet surfaces and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs or handles, preferably every one – two hours depending on the rate of utilisation.
- A holding room or area where a person who becomes sick at the premises can be isolated from others while making arrangements for evacuation.
- Every worshiper must be registered with their details, including names, phone numbers, manually or digitally, adding that digital registration can be done on GH COVID-19 APP or the PANABIOS App, which can be downloaded at no cost.
- Religious leaders would equally be held liable, adding that the District Assemblies and other agencies will monitor and ensure compliance with the directives.
Religious activities were thus to begin on Friday, June 5, with Muslims worshiping at the mosques, and Adventists and Christians following on Saturday Sunday, respectively.
June 1: 8,070 cases, conditional lifting of most restrictions
Ghana’s case load passed the 8,000 mark on last day of May 2020 as president Akufo-Addo addressed the nation lifting conditionally a raft of restrictions.
Schools are to open in mid-June, religious places can reopen with strict conditions and the observance of health protocols. Social gatherings are to be allowed under certain conditions.
The address, the tenth by the president, also spelled out measures that government was putting in place to curb the spread of the virus. “Consensus from stakeholder consultation recommend a phased approach to easing anti Covid-19 restrictions,” he said.
- With effect from Friday 5th June, Ghana will begin the implementation of gradual easing of restrictions
- Final year university students to report to school on 15th June, 2020
- Faith-based organisations to start communal worship, effective Friday, June 5, amid social distancing and hygiene protocols
- All schools, both private and public remain closed. Only final year students access those facilities.
- Each student, teacher and non teaching staff will be provided with reusable face mask by the Ministry of Education prior to reopening for final year students
- Weddings with not more than 100 guests can be organized
- Public political activities, except for rallies, to resume with less than 100 people, amid observation of social distancing and hygiene protocols
- 218, 425 Covid-19 tests conducted so far
Total confirmed cases = 8,070 (new cases = 189)
Total recoveries = 2,947
Total deaths = 36
Active cases = 5,087