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General News of Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Source: Class FM

Ghana’s coronavirus death toll now 34

Thirty-four people, in total, have, so far, succumbed to the coronavirus pandemic in Ghana, the Ghana Health Service’s latest figures have shown.

The case count has now jumped to 7,117.

Also, the number of recoveries is now 2,317.

Regional breakdown

Greater Accra Region - 5,008

Ashanti Region - 1,085

Western Region - 344

Central Region - 337

Eastern Region - 108

Western North Region - 62

Volta Region - 59

Northern Region - 36

Oti Region - 26

Upper East Region - 26

Upper West Region - 22

North East Region - 2

Savannah Region - 1

Bono Region - 1

Ahafo Region - 0

Bono East Region – 0

Despite the increasing numbers, the government has indicated that it intends easing the restrictions imposed by President Nana Akufo-Addo, as part of measures instituted in dealing with the spread of the virus.

On Tuesday, 26 May 2020, Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo said a lot of advanced countries are easing their COVID-19 restrictions and, so, it will not be out of place for Ghana to do so, too.

“On Friday, we’ll put all of this together [consultations] and, on the best advice available, we will make the various decisions”, the former Finance Minister told journalists at a press briefing in Accra on Tuesday, 26 May 2020.

“Don’t forget that in New York today, they are reducing the restrictions; Germany is reducing the restrictions, France is reducing the restrictions. Even in the US, they are reducing the restrictions, which means that we must find a way of restoring the economic life in one way or the other, bearing in mind the need to ensure the safety of our citizens”, Mr Osafo-Maafo said.

Two days earlier, the President had said stakeholder consultations were taking place on the way forward toward the easing of COVID-19 restrictions so that the social and economic lives of Ghanaians “can go back to normal”.

“I expect these consultations to conclude this week”, he said at a virtual national Eid celebration on Sunday, 24 May 2020, adding: “So that I can announce to Ghanaians a clear roadmap for easing the restrictions”.

“We have to find a way back, but in safety, for we cannot be under these restrictions forever”, the President said.

President Akufo-Addo said at the Eid ceremony that his confidence in easing the restrictions is “fortified” by three considerations: “Firstly, sad though any premature death is, the hard fact is that the rate of deaths in Ghana amongst confirmed cases is very low – one per one million, i.e. 0.0001%, one of the lowest in Africa, and, indeed, in the world, this, despite the very high number of tests we are carrying out”.

“This has been so since the very beginning of the outbreak over two (2) months ago. The number of positive cases stands at six thousand, six hundred and eighty-three (6,683), out of one hundred and ninety-four thousand, seven hundred and sixty-three (194,763) tests conducted, with one thousand, nine hundred and ninety-eight (1,998) recoveries. This means that our positivity rate, that is the ratio of confirmed cases to the total number of tests conducted, is 3.43%, which, again, is one of the lowest in Africa, and in the world.

“Furthermore, virtually all the thirty-two (32) corona-related deaths, that have so far been recorded, were of persons with, what the doctors call, comorbidity, i.e. with other underlying causes and diseases. Most of them died within twenty-four (24) hours of admission to hospital. May their souls rest in peace. It appears that, by the grace of God, Ghanaians are not dying of this virus in the numbers that were originally anticipated and feared”, he observed.

Secondly, the president noted, the “numbers of severe virus cases that have been hospitalised have been persistently low since the outbreak”, adding: “The fear that our hospitals would be overburdened, and, indeed, overwhelmed has, so far, again by the grace of God, not materialised. As we speak, there are sixteen (16) severe cases in six (6) hospitals across the country, none of them on a ventilator. We pray for their speedy recovery”.

Thirdly, he announced: “We now have a more robust mechanism for enforcing our central strategy of defeating the virus – the application of the 3Ts, tracing, testing and treating. The tracing teams are more experienced and more efficient; testing capabilities are no longer concentrated in Accra and Kumasi, but spread more evenly across the country in Ho, Tamale, Navrongo, Takoradi and Cape Coast; treating capacity has been considerably enhanced with isolation facilities better distributed across the nation”.

“These developments, and continuing strong adherence to the social distancing and hygiene protocols, including wearing masks and strengthening our immune systems by eating our own foods, will enable us to face the future with greater confidence, as we battle to defeat the virus, and pray for our healthcare workers. And, it is appropriate that we should end this unique Ramadan with this declaration of confidence in the future, because, as I have said, this too shall pass! For the battle is the Lord’s!!”

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