Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo has begun to ease movement restrictions in major cities in the country as of Monday, April 20, including in Accra and Kumasi (Ashanti region), following a 21-day lockdown implemented to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Residents in cities under lockdown measures are allowed to return to work; however, large public gatherings remain prohibited and schools closed until further notice. Health authorities have advised individuals to wear face masks to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Ghana's borders remain closed in an effort to contain the spread of the outbreak. Citizens returning from abroad and foreign nationals with Ghanaian residence permits will be subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine period if they show symptoms of the virus. All vehicles undertaking intracity travel must also reduce their number of passengers to observe social-distancing measures.
As of April 20, 1042 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Ghana, as well as nine associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.