President Akufo-Addo says his government is open to the advise of the Council of State on timelines towards the reopening of churches, schools and mosques in the country, which have all been under lock and key over the last six weeks due to measures put in place by his government to mitigate the spread of the novel Coronavirus.
This observation, the President made when he addressed members of the constitutional body, the Council of State at the Jubilee House on Tuesday, April 21.
In his opening remarks, President Akufo Addo said “There are still very important measures in place that are impacting the daily lives of our people. How long can we keep the churches closed, how long can we keep the mosque closed? What about our schools, when are they going to be able to resume? What are the circumstances and conditions we have to see being satisfied before those measures can be taken?”.
He added “There are very critical steps that we all have to think about because the current situation, the emergency, cannot be a permanent feature of our national life. We have to at some stage confront the future and how we will address that future. I think on all of these critical points. You have an important input to make,”
Decision to Lift Lockdown
President Akufo-Addo earlier in his address observed that his government took the decision to lift the movement restrictions imposed on Greater Accra, Kasoa and Greater Kumasi on Sunday, the 19th of April 2020 because he was satisfied that the country had successfully developed a mechanism for going after the COVID-19 disease.
“We have administered over eighty-five thousand tests as of Sunday to the contact population. It is the highest number in per capita terms on the African continent,” President Akufo-Addo said.
“Against such background, against the fact that we now have a much more robust system for tracing, for testing, and for treating the positive cases, we felt that we were is a strong position now to lift the partial lockdown in Accra and Kumasi, maintain the other measures in place and be in a stronger position to go after the virus,” President Akufo-Addo added.
Chairman of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, on behalf of the Council congratulated the President for the strong leadership that he has demonstrated since the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic began in Ghana. He observed that even the choice of cloth by the President during some of the major addresses to the nation has depicted the difficult times the country is in.
“The other day it was ‘enibre aa ennso gya,’ meaning if your eyes are red, it doesn’t light fire. On Sunday it was “dade3 fa, ebour fa,” half steel, half stone,” Nana Otuo Siriboe II said.
Distribution of Face Masks
The Council additionally suggested that the government should consider a nationwide distribution of face masks across the length and breadth of the country. The Council Chair stated that making face masks available to the citizenry, “…would go a long way to helping us address the issue of the spread of COVID-19 in Ghana”.
President Akufo-Addo welcomed the suggestion of the Council and indicated that the Ministry of Health would in the next few days introduce guidelines to regulate the mass production of nose and face masks in the country as well as modalities for effective distribution of same around the country.