Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has stated that the decision by government not to evacuate people from China in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak has helped in preventing the disease from entering Ghana.
According to him, despite the criticism from various stakeholders to do otherwise, government will keep following the advice of the World Health Organisation(WHO) in doing everything possible to combat the disease should Ghana record any confirmed case.
“From the beginning, some of these countries that are now closing their borders totally said they were going to evacuate people from the epicenters when the advice was that, it is better to contain it within those places. So, you notice that for a country like Ghana, we decided not to evacuate [our residents from China]. There was a backlash. But what has happened is that, from that decision not to evacuate, we are of the view that it has contributed to holding this at bay. While some of the countries took a different route, which was to evacuate, now data is beginning to suggest most likely that they may have imported it from some of those places,” he said in an interview on the Citi Breakfast Show on Thursday.
“We will follow the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO) who we are working with us in Accra and the Ghanaian experts who are quite skilled in the management of some of these public health outbreaks. And we are optimistic that it will serve us well,” he added.
The Minister also insisted that government will rather firm up the protocol for inbound traffic from countries affected by the disease in a bid to prevent it from entering the country rather than call for a complete ban as it will help in preventing a panic situation.
“We are at a second stage where they are now saying that they are going to close their borders to some of these places totally. We have chosen a different route based on the advice that the enhanced protocols for inbound traffic and the curtailment of consular services are a better route. We will not necessarily do that just because others are,” he said.
Akufo-Addo urges citizens to desist from all foreign travels
In a televised national address on measures government has put in place in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, President Nana Akufo-Addo stated that Ghana has firmed up the protocol for inbound traffic from countries affected by the fast-spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) in a bid to prevent the disease from entering the country.
He explained that a recent directive from the Jubilee House banning all ministers, Deputy Ministers, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) and heads of government agencies from foreign travels is among measures to quell a possible outbreak of the disease in Ghana.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah also explained that what this means is that government has suspended consular services in these countries affected by the outbreak.
“It is a very simple way of ensuring that no new visas are issued for people there to come to Ghana. While we are not going to issue new visas, there may be people with old valid visas, who maybe Ghanaians and want to come into the jurisdiction. So, what we do is to use the enhanced protocols for inbound traffic to receive those people,” he said.
Already, cases of the coronavirus that emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December 2019 are being reported daily around the world.
Currently, more than 4,700 people have died globally from COVID-19.
Also, more than 129,000 infections have been confirmed in dozens of countries, according to the WHO.
In Africa, South Africa has the highest recorded cases of the virus after it announced six new cases of the virus last week, bringing the total of recorded cases in that country to 13. North African countries have also recorded nearly 100 cases.