President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to announce stricter restrictions on social gatherings across the country this evening (31 January 2021).

This will be his 23rd address to the nation on measures his administration continues to take to tackle the spread of the novel corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Since the 22nd address of the President two weeks ago, there have been calls by the Ghana Medical Association (GMA), other identifiable groups and a cross-section of the general public for government to introduce a partial lockdown in Accra and Kumasi and restrict gatherings to help stop the second wave of COVID-19 infections in the country.

Asaase News sources close to the Presidency indicate that a partial lockdown may not be on the table now.

“The wider health and overall social impact of a lockdown make it highly unattractive, at least for now,” a source explained to Asaase News.

However, the president upon advise from his COVID-19 response team is expected to introduce other enhanced measures to help reverse the current trend of increasing infections.

Social gathering concerns

Serious concerns have been raised by Ghanaians about the total disregard and violation of the Ghana Football Association’s (GFA) own match-day COVID-19 protocols during the Accra Hearts of Oak and Accra Great Olympics match played on 30 January 2021, at the Ohene Gyan Sports Stadium.

Other social gatherings such as funerals, church services, parties, weddings, among others, held in recent time in several parts of the country have largely been done without due regard to the laid down COVID-19 safety protocols. This has informed the calls for the introduction and re-introduction of stricter measures.

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COVID-19 situation in Ghana

At least, 15 additional deaths to COVID-19 have been recorded in the last 48 hours, bringing the country’s total fatalities to at least 405, latest figures from the Ghana Health Service (GHS) indicate.

Active cases stand at 4,665 after 797 new cases were recorded in all 16 regions and from international travelers. There is a general sense that the official numbers are far less than the actual cases in the country. A view that appears to be shared by the president when in his last address he called for greater efficiency in the capturing of data on the national platform.

The country’s cumulative cases, as recorded, are now 65,427 after more than 766,900 tests were carried out from routine surveillance, enhanced contact tracing and at the Kotoka International Airport. In all, 238, 836 tests have been conducted from routine surveillance, 381, 178 from contact tracing and 146, 918 at the airport. At least 1,112 positive cases were detected among international travelers out of which 811 have recovered so far.

There is concern over the presence of the deadlier variants in Ghana. Information available to Asaase News suggests that, incidentally, the first recorded case of the South African variant in Ghana was detected in the sample when the Country Director of the World Health Organization returned to the country and tested positive at the airport.

A total of 60, 357 recoveries have been recorded since the virus first entered the country in March 2020. According to the GHS, there are at least 125 severe cases and 44 critical one with none on ventilator.

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