Fellow Ghanaians, good evening.
Let me thank you, yet again, for welcoming me into your homes – this being the twentieth (20th) time since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, and the first since the election of 7thDecember, where Ghanaians, once again, reposed their confidence in me for another four years.
When I delivered Update No. 19 on 8th November, I indicated that the nation, in the course of that week, was recording, on the average, one hundred and thirty (130) new cases of infections per day, and, thus, urged all Ghanaians not to let their guard down.
It has been some six (6) weeks since that appeal, and, within that period, we have had a vigorous political campaign season, and elected a President and two hundred and seventy-five (275) Members of Parliament by over thirteen million Ghanaians, across some thirty-eight thousand (38,000) polling stations, in accordance with the effective safety protocols put in place by the Electoral Commission. Despite the genuine fears of many that we would see a surge in cases, we have, on the contrary, witnessed a stable daily rate of infectionof between one hundred and thirty (130) and one hundred (100)cases.
Indeed, the total number of active cases has reduced marginally from one thousand, one hundred and thirty-nine (1,139), as at Friday, 6thNovember 2020, to nine hundred and forty-six (946) as at Friday, 18thDecember. Our hospitalisation rates continue to be very low, and our treatment centres are virtually empty. As per data from Ghana Health Service, some regions, at the moment, have no recorded active cases, and long may this continue.
So, on behalf of Government, I want to thank our fellow Ghanaians who continue to adhere to the social distancing, hand washing, hand hygiene, and mask-wearing protocols which serve us well.
Our heroic health workers have seen to fifty-two thousand, six hundred and seventy-five (52,675) recoveries, for which the country is extremely grateful. Unfortunately, thirteen (13) more deaths from COVID-19 and its complications have been recorded, bringing the total number of fatalities to three hundred and thirty-three (333) out of the fifty-three thousand, nine hundred and fifty-four (53,954) confirmed cases. May their souls rest in peace.
The data tell us that we are experiencing, in Ghana, clusters of cases linked, largely, to confined indoor spaces with poor ventilation, workplaces, offices, factories, schools, parties, and arriving passengers at our airport.
Fellow Ghanaians, the recent news of emergency approvals of COVID-19 vaccines, by the Food and Drugs Administrationof the United States of America, and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency of the United Kingdom, provide considerable optimism and hope for the world in our battle to defeat the pandemic.
Ghana, I assure you, is not going to be left behind in having access to the vaccines. I am aware of the anxieties relating to the safety and efficacy of newly-developed vaccines. Government will ensure thatthe COVID-19 vaccines to be deployed in the countryare effective and are safe. To this end, I have put together a team of experts, from the relevant institutions and agencies, who are working assiduously towards the procurement and deployment of the vaccines in Ghana.The briefings held by the Ministry of Information will keep the nation updated on this matter.
Until then, and with barely a week to the Christmas festivities, which bring in its wake family reunions, parties and many social and religious gatherings, I urge all of us to err on the side of caution, and observe the COVID-19 safety protocols no matter where we find ourselves.
The dynamics of the virus has taught us that, if you must host or attend such events, they are best held safely outdoors or in very well-ventilated halls,rather than in closed, air-conditioned spaces.Even when organised outdoors, there must be adequate spacing for the maintenance of social distancing. Organisers of such events, public or private, should ensure the presence of ‘Veronica’ buckets, soap and sanitisers, and must insist that patrons use them as frequently as possible.
I entreat all persons with underlying ailments, such as hypertension, diabetes, chronic liver disease, and asthmato pay particular attention to their health during the festive season.
It is important to stress that our borders, by land and sea, will remain closed to human traffic until further notice. Beaches, pubs, cinemasand nightclubs remain closed until further notice. All other institutions that have been cleared to function are to continue to do so in strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols.
So, my fellow Ghanaians, I make this plea to all of you to ensure compliance with the enhanced hygiene and mask wearing protocols that have become part of our daily routines. This will help us in the fight against the virus.
This too shall pass! For the Battle is still the Lord’s!!!
May God bless us all and our homeland Ghana, and make her great and strong.
I thank you for your attention, and good night.