Ghana reviews COVID protocol, says face masks optional

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The Ghanaian government has said the use of face masks will no longer be compulsory.

Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo, made this known in a statement issued on Sunday.

According to him, the decision to review Ghana’s COVID protocol was as a result of the declining number of infections as well as the success recorded with vaccination.

He added that Ghanaian citizens and foreign residents who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated will be granted  waivers by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to allow them entry into the country.

“This review is premised on the background of rapidly declining infections, the relative success of the vaccination campaign being supervised by the Ghana Health Service, and the increased capacity developed in the public and private health sectors over the last two years,” the statement reads.

“Indeed, as at Friday, 25th March 2022, the total number of active cases stood at 72. There are no severely or critically-ill persons. Our COVID-19 treatment centres are empty, and the fourth wave appears to be over. In addition to these very low reported cases is the considerable improvement in the availability and uptake of vaccines by the population.

“Whilst we have not achieved our national vaccination coverage target, it is significant to note that reasonable vaccination coverages have been achieved in the hotspots of infections, particularly in the urban areas of Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi. Government is determined to use all means to increase the deployment of vaccination across the country to achieve our target of vaccinating some 20 million Ghanaians by June.

“With countries in the ECOWAS Community, especially in our neighbouring countries, presently, like us, recording very low levels of infections, and having significant numbers of our people vaccinated, and on the advice of the national COVID-19 Taskforce and the health experts, I have taken the decision to revise the COVID-19 Restrictions, enacted under E.I. 64,” he said.

“So, from tomorrow, Monday, 28th March, the wearing of facemasks is no longer mandatory. I encourage all of you, though, to continue to maintain enhanced hand hygiene practices, and avoid overcrowded gatherings.

“All in-person activities, such as those that take place in churches, mosques, conferences, workshops, private parties and events, cinemas and theatres may resume at full capacity, as long as the audience and/or participants are fully vaccinated. Hand washing and hand sanitising points should be made available at these venues.

“Outdoor functions at sporting events, entertainment spots, political rallies and funerals may resume at full capacity, again, as long as all persons at these events are fully vaccinated.

“Ghanaian citizens and foreign residents in Ghana, who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated currently, are given waivers by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to allow them entry into the country through the Kotoka International Airport. They must also have a 72-hour negative PCR test result prior to embarkation, take an antigen test on arrival, and are offered vaccination.

“From tomorrow, Monday, 28th March, fully vaccinated travellers into Ghana will not take PCR tests from the country of embarkation to allow them entry into the country through the KIA, and will not be tested on arrival.

“Citizens and foreign residents in Ghana, who are not fully vaccinated, would, however, need to provide a negative PCR test result of not more than 48-hours, will undergo an antigen test upon arrival at KIA, and will be offered vaccination there. Ghana’s Foreign Missions have been instructed to make vaccination a requirement for visa acquisition.”

Ghana recorded its index COVID case in March 2020, and has now confirmed over 150,000 cases — but less than 1,500 deaths.




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