Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo in his second national address in the last four days has instructed a broad review of Ghana’s public gathering advisories.

This follows the confirmation of 6 coronavirus cases in Ghana.

After chairing a meeting of the inter-Ministerial Committee on coronavirus response on Sunday, March 15, the President in the 10 pm national address announced that:” All Public gatherings, including conferences, workshops, funerals, festivals, political rallies, sporting events and religious activities, such as services in churches and mosques, have been suspended for the next four (4) weeks. Private burials are permitted but with limited numbers, not exceeding twenty-five (25) in attendance.”

All Universities, Senior High Schools and basic schools including public and private ones are to be closed from Monday, March 16, 2020, till further notice.

“The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of communication has been tasked to roll out distance learning programs. However, BECE AND WASSCE candidates will be allowed to attend school to prepare for their examinations, but with prescribed social distancing protocols,” he noted.

Businesses and other workplaces are to continue to operate but should observe prescribed social distancing between patrons and staff.

Establishments such as supermarkets, shopping malls, restaurants, night clubs, hotels and drinking spots are to observe enhanced hygiene procedures by providing amongst others hand sanitizers, running water and soap for washing of hands.

According to the President, the Ministry of Transport should work with the transport unions and private and public transport operators to ensure enhanced hygienic conditions in all vehicles and terminals by providing amongst others hand sanitizers, running water and soap for washing of hands.

“The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development should coordinate with the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies [and put in place] measures to enhance conditions of hygiene in markets across the country,” he further directed.

Contact tracing

“Additionally, as the experts conduct contact tracing, I appeal to all to co-operate with them to ensure that persons who have come into contact with positive cases are identified and supported.” President Nana Akufo-Addo admonished.  

Parliament to sign off the new measure?

“I have directed the Attorney General to submit immediately to parliament Emergency Legislation in accordance with Article 21(4)(C) and (D) of the Constitution of the Republic to embody these measures and I have further directed the Minister for Health to exercise his powers, under section 169 of the Public Health Act,2012 (Act 851) by the immediate issuance of an Executive Instrument, to govern the relevant measures. I call upon parliament to support the Executive in this national endeavour,” the President stated.

Update: Parliament has 72 hours to revoke or continue the declaration

Lawyer and Professor of Accounting, Stephen Kwaku Asare has told GhanaFact that “the measures[announced by the President] come into force immediately. But the President must explain the basis of the emergency to Parliament immediately. Parliament then within 72 hours can revoke or continue the declaration.”

By: Rabiu Alhassan