Ghana is to close all its borders from midnight on Sunday, March 22, to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The border closure is to last for two weeks according to President Nana Akufo-Addo, and “will not apply to goods, supplies and cargo.”
“All our borders; by land, sea and air, will be closed to human traffic for the next two weeks beginning midnight on Sunday,” he said in an address to the Nation on Saturday evening.
President Akufo-Addo said the government’s aim with all its measures are to “limit and stop the importation of the virus; contain its spread; provide adequate care for the sick; limit the impact of the virus on social and economic life and inspire the expansion of our domestic capability and deepen our self-reliance.”
Following restrictions from recently reviewed travel protocols, the only admissible travellers into Ghana were Ghanaians and foreign nationals with residence permits in Ghana.
But ahead of the closure, this category of travelers will be subject to a mandatory quarantine.
Ghana announced new travel protocols when the detected cases stood at seven.
Travelers who had been in coronavirus-hit countries with cases exceeding 200 within the 14 days preceding their arrival were to be barred from entering the country.
The admissible travelers who exhibit symptoms of the virus are to be quarantined and tested upon reaching Ghana.
The government said airlines had been instructed not to allow such persons into the country.
It also said travel to Ghana was strongly discouraged.
Cases in Ghana
The novel Coronavirus cases in Ghana have increased to 21, with one death recorded on Saturday, March 21, 2020, involving a 61-year old Lebanese resident in Ghana.
The latest novel coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Ghana Health Service suggest that cases of community spread may have been detected.
One of the cases involves a 34-year-old woman who was a “contact of a confirmed case at her place of work,” according to the Ghana Health Service.
Another case involves a 29-year-old woman resident of Accra with no history of travel outside Ghana.
Also, a man, aged 53, who is a resident in Tema, who has no history of travel outside Ghana tested positive for the virus.
How is the virus spread?
The virus is spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another, i.e within about 6 feet, and via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into one’s lungs.
To prevent the spread, the standard recommendations coming from the World Health Organisation and the Ghana Health Service are regular hand washing, covering one’s mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs and social distancing.
People are also advised to avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.