With 141 confirmed COVID-19 cases, Ghana is the second-worst-hit country in West Africa. Its record is just behind that of Burkina Faso, which has 207 currently. Ghana’s coronavirus saga has now led the country’s administration to initiate a lockdown, but only in key areas.
There will be a two-week national confinement, which will begin in the early hours of Monday, March 31, 2020. The announcement was made during President Akufo-Addo’s address last Friday, March 27. 2020.
Ghana has 2 cities with more than a million people, 9 cities with between 100,000 and 1 million people. There are 53 cities with between 10,000 and 100,000 people. The largest city in Ghana is Accra, with a population of 2,475,000 people.
However, the lockdown affects only the 3 cities of Accra (its capital), Kumasi and Tema, some of the country’s major metropolises. People in these areas are mandated to stay home for the next 14 days, having to go out only to get essentials like food, medicine and water.
Banks are exempted from the lockdown, while food value chain businesses are to remain open. Meanwhile Ghana’s borders are and will remain closed for the next 2 weeks.
Only returning Ghanaians and foreign nationals with resident permits will be allowed to enter the country. But, they will have to be quarantined for 24 days should they exhibit symptoms of the outbreak.
Compared to that of South Africa—which is now in the third day of its 21-day safety lock—Ghana’s lockdown is partial.
While announcing the lockdown, Ghana’s president unveiled a special COVID-19 Fund. It will be managed by an independent board of trustees led by former Chief Justice, Sophia Akufo. The financial facility looks to mitigate the effects of Ghana’s coronavirus outbreak.
But, more importantly, Akufo-Addo has added 3 months of his presidential salary to the Fund. This can be seen as exemplary leadership, since the Fund is typically open to contributions and donations from the general public to help cater for the needy during this period.
He said: “I have directed the Controller and Accountant General to pay my next three months’ salary, i.e. April, May and June, into this Fund. Let me also thank, from the bottom of my heart, the churches, financial institutions and individuals who have already made donations to help in this fight. God richly bless them,” he added.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Akufo-Addo is taking a paycut for his country’s good. In Dec 2018, he donated his November salary of GHC 25 K (USD 4,347) to the Korle Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Fund. That was part of his contribution to resourcing the Fund to assist Ghanaians who may require plastic surgery.
Featured Image: IFEX
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