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Lockdown: We want to get ahead of coronavirus – Information Minister to Ghanaians

Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has advised Ghanaians to comply with President Akufo-Addo’s directives regarding the partial lockdown of Coronavirus affected areas and Regions in the country.

According to him, the lockdown isn’t intended to impose restrictions on people but to aid State authorities to identify persons infected by the virus, otherwise called Covid-19, and their contacts.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with host Kwami Sefa Kayi on Peace FM’s ‘Kokrokoo’ program on Monday, March 30, 2020, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah noted that the 2-week lockdown is an opportunity for the health and other appropriate authorities to do contact-tracing to fish out people who have imported the virus and also at the community level.

Outlining some major steps undertaken by the government to curtail the spread of the Covid-19 in the nation, he noted that the authorities have a database of all persons that took flight into Ghana from 3rd March and are able to identify them.

He explained there were about thirty-four thousand travellers and 400 flights into the country, however not all the travellers are infected.

The flights, he added, have been narrowed down to 28 and all persons on board are being traced in order to have their samples tested.

”We have to fish out those people and test them. We know the location of a lot of them, so we have to ensure they are tested . . . The President met with us to go back into all the flight manifests and about 34,000 people entered the country from the 3rd (of March). But among the 34,000, not all of them came from the affected countries; so they can be exempted. Some also underwent self-quarantine for more than 14 days and those categories of people can also be exempt,” he said.

The Information Minister asked Ghanaians to cooperate with the President and make the lockdown exercise easy by staying home.

He stressed that the lockdown is to help authorities engage in aggressive testing nationwide, disclosing that there are currently 30,000 test kits and the government is procuring additional ones to augment the exercise.

“We have to do enhanced testing exercise within the next 2 weeks . . . we know people that we believe are at risk; those we say are ‘at-risk population’. So, we had to impose restrictions to identify these people within the 2 weeks and get them tested to curtail the spread and to teach those who are not infected about the precautionary measures . . . the two-week restriction period that the President, after several hours and days of consideration that he’s given us, is not a restriction for restriction sake.

“. . it’s a period that gives us the opportunity to halt 1. the potential spread but 2. the main thing is to engage in some aggressive testing.

“We want to go ahead of the virus,” he emphasized.

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