President Akufo-Addo has set the tone for the ‘no more handshake’ recommendation as a means of preventing the spread of the COVID-19 infection.
At the 63rd Independence Anniversary celebration held at the Baba Yara sports stadium in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi, the President unconventionally greeted dignitaries with a fist bump and in some cases, a wave.
The act came few minutes after he reiterated the call by Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu that as much as possible, Ghanaians should reconsider the traditional habit of handshaking as a form of greeting.
The President’s call comes at a time when Ghana’s close neighbour, Togo has recorded a confirmed case of the COVID-19 infection, bringing the number of affected African countries to Nine.
Algeria is topping the list with 19 cases so far, Egypt follows closely with 14 cases, Tunisia, Morocco, South Africa, Cameroon and Nigeria all have recorded a single case of the virus while Senegal has 4 confirmed cases.
Speaking at the Anniversary on Friday, President Akufo-Addo noted, “For the time being, as the Ministry of Health has advised, we have to revisit our custom of shaking hands and stop doing so completely,” as a means of limiting the spread of the virus which can be transmitted from person to person through physical contact.
President Akufo-Addo highlighted the measures which have been put in place by the country’s health sector to manage the disease should it find its way to Ghana.
Among some measures listed are the ongoing strict checks and surveillance at the country’s entry points, the setting up of isolation and treatment centres for potential cases as well as the disbursement of about 5,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).
According to President Akufo-Addo, “Additional protective health equipment is being procured. Training of health workers in the treatment of the disease is being provided and is ongoing. In the interim, non-essential travel into Ghana is being strongly discouraged from high-risk countries, namely China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea. We’re counting on the experts to do their part to save Ghana but we all have the responsibility to take measures to help ourselves and each other.”
Ghana is one of thirteen West African countries yet to record a case of the novel coronavirus since over 40 suspected cases have all tested negative.
The global cases of coronavirus have surpassed a 100,000 with the death toll at 3,337.