Ghanaians have been urged not to let their guard down in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, with a reminder of the hefty sanctions in place.
President Akufo-Addo, who, gave the reminder in his 16th update on Ghana’s enhanced response to the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore warned that persons who continued to disregard the COVID-19 safety and preventive protocols, and endanger the rest of the population through their actions and negligence, would have to face severe sanctions.
The President said the high compliance rate with mask-wearing of persons recorded in survey by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) had fallen according to a new survey by the service.
This, he said, was not acceptable, as the enhanced hygiene, mask-wearing and social distancing protocols must now be “central features of our lives, and they must continue to remain so for some time to come, until we see to the elimination of the virus from the country.”
He said the law enforcement agencies would, where necessary, apply these measures without fear or favour, ill-will or malice, and without recourse to a person’s ethnicity, gender or religion.
He, however, noted that since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, countries including Ghana had day-in-and-out, instituted measures to try to limit and contain the spread of the virus, and return lives to normalcy.
The President said with the effectiveness of Government policies, the co-operation of Ghanaians, and by the grace of God, the nation had been relatively spared these unwelcomed developments.
He noted that the number of active cases continued to decline, and at the time of his last address two weeks ago, the total number of active cases of COVID-19 stood at 1,847 persons, but as at Friday, August 28, 2020, the number had reduced to 1,059 persons.
President Akufo-Addo, stated that as much as these statistics were encouraging, in contrast to what pertained in several countries globally, “We cannot afford to let our guard down. We have to maintain, in a state of constant readiness, the enhanced infrastructure and expertise we have built during the period of the virus to cope with it.”
On the education front, President Akufo-Addo announced that the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year to January 2021 has been postponed. The decision to postpone the academic year which was brought to a halt in March due to the Coronavirus pandemic in the country was taken after further consultations with stakeholders.
“The Ghana Education Service after further consultations has decided to postpone the remainder of the academic year for all nursery, kindergarten, primary, JHS1 and SHS1 students. The next academic year will resume in January 2021 with the appropriate adjustments made to the curriculum to ensure that nothing is lost from the previous year,” the President said.
Second year Junior High School (JHS) and Senior High School (SHS) students, would however, return to school from October 5 to December 15 to complete their academic year.
The president added that just as was done in the case of final year university, JHS and SHS students, all JHS 2 and SHS 2 students, as well as all teaching and non-teaching staff, will be given reusable face masks. Each school will be provided with Veronica Buckets, gallons of liquid soap, rolls of tissue paper, thermometer guns, and 200 milli-litre containers of sanitizers. JHS 2 students will be given one hot meal a day.