President Akufo-Addo has revealed that 5,000 personal protective equipment for health workers have been procured and distributed to all regions to help fight the coronavirus.

Speaking at the Independence day parade, he said that major health facilities, points of entry, teaching hospitals, treatment centres, and selected health facilities have been given these equipment and more are being procured.

“In the interim, non-essential travel into Ghana is being strongly discouraged from high-risk countries, namely, China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea,” he added.

According to the President, although travels are being discouraged the country has isolation and treatment centres which have been designated for potential cases including a quarantine centre. 

However, a World Health Organisation (WHO)-commissioned report on Ghana’s preparedness for a potential coronavirus infection (COVID-19) outbreak revealed that as of February 14, 2020, there were gaps in the country’s action plan.

Some of the gaps included inadequate funding, and “support from Government so far has gone towards the provision of PPEs, coordination activities, health declaration forms.”

The report also scored Ghana high for its capacity to test for the deadly virus, noting that, “so far, 15 suspected cases have been tested with all 15 testing negative for COVID-19.”

According to the report, Ghana is classified among Priority 1 countries in WHO Africa region for being at risk, based on flights and passenger volumes.

President Akufo-Addo at the parade urged Ghanaians to protect themselves but should be cautious in the spread of fake news which he said could create fear and panic.

“The (health) recommendations are for each one of us to practice basic personal hygiene and be extra careful with sanitation. For the time being, as the Ministry of Health has advised, we have to revisit our custom of shaking hands and avoid doing so completely for now,” he cautioned.

President Akufo-Addo also added that health workers are being trained in the treatment of the COVID-19.

He thanked the World Health Organisation and other institutions that have extended its hands to Ghana amidst the fears of the disease spreading across Africa.

He stated that while Ghanaians continue to pray the virus does not make it to the country they should also “please listen to, and take seriously, the public education messages being put out by the public health authorities.”