Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has temporarily suspended foreign travels by public officials as part of measures to prevent the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ghana.

The directive was contained in a March 10 statement titled “temporary suspension of foreign travels for public officials” and addressed to all sector ministers and their deputies, regional ministers and deputies, Metropolitan Municipal and District Chief Executives(MMDCEs) and all heads of government agencies.

“The directive together with other measures being put in place by the government is intended to protect the general public from contracting the virus,” the statement said.

The statement stamped as urgent and signed by Chief of Staff Akosua Frema Osei-Opare further said only critical travels will be considered.

“You have to apply to the Office of the Chief of Staff if you believe you want to travel and the Chief of Staff would make a determination if it is a critical one,” Minister for Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah stated in an interview with GhanaFact after confirming the authenticity of the statement that is being widely shared on social media including Facebook and WhatsApp.

No case of coronavirus in Ghana

According to the Ghana Health Service, forty-one (41) suspected cases of coronavirus in Ghana have all tested negative as of March 4.

The Ghanaian government has committed an additional 11 million Ghana cedis for the implementation of the prevention plan against coronavirus after an initial 2.5 million Ghana cedis allocation to the fight against the disease was described as inadequate by the Ghana Coalition of NGOs in Health.

The World Health Organization in an earlier report on Ghana shared similar concerns about inadequate funding and stated that even though the country has capacity in-country to test for COVID-19 disease (Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research) its readiness status is largely moderate.

Seven African countries confirm coronavirus cases

According to the World Health Organization, seven African countries including Algeria, Senegal, South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, Egypt and Togo have confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Egypt that has a total of 55 confirmed cases, the highest number in Africa, has also recorded one death, according to the WHO Situation report – 49 on the global spread of the Coronavirus disease  (COVID-19) released on March 9, 2020.

Globally there are 109, 577 confirmed cases and 3,809 deaths, the WHO has revealed.

By: Rabiu Alhassan