President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has dismissed criticisms that his government is hiding behind the COVID-19 pandemic to provide ‘freebies’ to Ghanaians ahead of the December 7 polls.
He said the duty of every responsible and sensitive government in times of crises is to protect the population and provide relief.
“We are not providing freebies, we are providing critical help to households, families and businesses in the midst of this pandemic because we care,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo made these remarks in a televised address to the nation last night on the state of the pandemic in the country.
On the closure of the country’s borders due to the pandemic, he said the borders remain closed to human traffic until further notice.
He explained that the Ministry of Aviation, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and the Ghana Airports Company Limited have been working with the Ministry of Health to ascertain the country’s readiness to reopen the Kotoka International Airport.
“I want to ensure that we are in a position to test every single passenger that arrives in the country to avoid the spread of the virus”
“The outcome of that exercise will show us the way and determine when we can reopen our borders by air. I am hoping by God’s grace, we will be ready to do so by 1st September” he said
President Akufo-Addo announced that continuing students in the various tertiary institutions can return to school on August 24 to finish their academic year.
He added that the Ministry of Education is engaging all relevant stakeholders to conclude discussions on the modalities surrounding the reopening of pre-tertiary schools.
“You can be rest assured that I will always take into prime consideration the safety and wellbeing of our children, teachers and non-teaching staff in the decisions that will be taken” he said
On the current state of the pandemic, President Akufo-Addo said as at Saturday August 15, the number of active cases had dropped from 3,307 from July 24 to 1,847.
This, he added, is a clear indication that the government’s policies and programmes to combat the pandemic are working.
“Currently, there are no recorded COVID-19 cases in the North East, Savannah, Upper East and Upper West Regions,” he said and appealed to residents in those regions to maintain the situation.
So far, he said a total of 40,567 people have recovered from the virus.
“This means that our recovery rate has improved from 89.5 per cent to 95.1 per cent in three weeks. Our death rate continues, mercifully to be low at 0.5 per cent,” he said
Also, he said there are no backlogs of tests at any of the country’s testing centres, noting that tests results that previously took weeks are now available in 48 hours.
On other measures to further ease the COVID-19 restrictions, he said the limit on the number of persons who can attend conferences, workshops and award events has been lifted subject to the maintenance of social distancing amongst participants, fresh air ventilation of the premises, and a 2 hour limit for each session.