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General News of Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Source: 3 News

Free COVID-19 mass testing best way for Ghana – Ablakwa

North Tongu lawmaker Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has called for free COVID-19 mass testing for all Ghanaians.

He has also called on the government to adopt an aggressive approach towards the virus.

“Time to fight COVID-19 like we have never done. It should be possible to institute a regime of free mass testing including drastically reducing the $150 airport fee,” he said in a tweet on Tuesday, January 19.

He added “We should be more aggressive & ingenious in our vaccine delivery timelines. And let us all do what we must.”

His colleague Member of Parliament for Ofoase Ayirebi, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah also said that the fight against the coronavirus pandemic is a collective responsibility.

This comes after the surge in the active cases of the virus in the country.

“We have a collective responsibility to mask-up and observe the needed safety protocols so that we once again contain the situation,” he said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said while addressing the nation on the Covid-19 on Sunday January 17 the government is intensifying its strategy of enhanced 3Ts, i.e. tracing, testing and treating, to deal with the rising cases of the coronavirus in the country.

Mr Akufo-Addo said the enhanced 3Ts will enable authorities to identify infected persons, isolate them, and treat them. A considerable number of contact tracers are being mobilised to follow up on contacts of all who test positive.

He stated that all laboratories, public and private, must supply, in real-time, data on all persons tested on the common platform established by the Ghana Health Service.

There will be sanctions against laboratories who fail to comply, he said.



The president said “We have also provided additional logistics, including vehicles, to the Ghana Health Service for the supervision and monitoring of asymptomatic cases being managed from home.

“Additionally, Government is reactivating available treatment and isolation facilities across the country in anticipation of any further increase in infections. The provision of adequate medicines, equipment, and personal protective equipment to enable health workers attend to homebased patients is being effected.”

Regarding the reopening of schools, he said “Fellow Ghanaians, as our children in kindergarten, primary, junior high school, SHS 2 and SHS 3 resume school from tomorrow, I wish to reiterate that Government has taken the required steps to ensure their safety in school. Heads of institutions, as well as their teachers, have undergone the requisite orientation on ‘Guidelines for school re-opening during COVID-19‘, to enable them assist with compliance of students to the protocols.”

“I have been encouraged by the preparations being made by many schools, in some cases, with the support of their old student associations and PTAs, in anticipation of the return on Monday. On our part, Government has also undertaken the fumigation and disinfection of schools, and the provision of sanitisers, masks, liquid soaps, Veronica Buckets, rolls of tissue paper, face shields for learners and staff with hearing impairments, and gloves for care givers and attendants, to schools across the country. All Senior High Schools have been mapped to medical facilities across the country, so that any outbreak of the disease in any such school can be duly contained. Suspected cases in primary and junior high schools will be managed by district health teams through the School Health Programme and the COVID-19 Rapid Response Teams.

“The world is facing a learning crisis – a crisis that is further worsening inequalities in access to education, with children from poorer homes and communities being worst hit. This learning crisis has serious implications for the future of our country. This is especially worrying for me because I have placed education at the centre of the social and economic progress and prosperity of Ghana, and of her political stability.

“That is why, in our attempt to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, the CAPBuss initiative, being administered by the National Board for Small Scale Industries, has started disbursements to applicants from private educational institutions, many of whom have been hard-hit by the pandemic. More disbursements to these institutions are being processed.

“I now wish to speak directly to the students and children returning to school, and those of you who have already returned. I know that, for most of you, 2020 was a very unfamiliar year, and presented a setback for your preparation for the future. You all saw the struggle your parents, especially working parents, went through with you at home due to school closures. You also know how you struggled to learn from home, even for those of you lucky enough to continue with some of your classes online. The frustrations, the idleness, the absence of classroom or study group intimacy – it has all been extremely difficult for you, your parents, teachers and everybody involved. This is something we should all try to put behind us. Much of that depends on you.As we take these big steps to go back to school, your attitude, your behaviour, your self-discipline will decide whether or not our schools will remain open.

“I am pleading with you, please observe the COVID-19 protocols at all times. You must maintain the level of discipline and sense of responsibility to stop the virus from spreading in your schools and, for day students, at home, as well. Wear your masks at all times. Wash and sanitize your hands regularly. Protect yourself. Protect each other. Protect your teachers. Protect your parents. But, please, do not give me a reason to close down schools again. I pledge to do my best to keep your education going. I want you to assure me, your parents, your teachers and society as a whole, through your actions, that you will do your part as well.”

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