Ghana is exploring the possibility of reopening her airports for international air travel, President Nana Additional Dankwa Akufo-Addo has hinted.
In a televised national address Sunday night, the President said he had instructed aviation and health stakeholders to “ascertain our readiness to reopen our airport.”
He said the outcome of those consultations would inform government’s decision to reopen the country’s air border occasioned by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I want to ensure that we are in a position to test every single passenger that arrives in the country to avoid the spread of the virus.
“The outcome of that exercise will show us the way, and determine when we can reopen our border by air… I am hoping that, by God’s grace, we will be ready to do so by September 1, 2020,” he said.
“Until further notice, our borders, by air, land and sea, remain closed to human traffic,” the President added.
However, government would continue to extend the special dispensation granted Ghanaians stranded abroad to return home, President Akufo-Addo indicated.
But they will be subjected to the mandatory quarantine and safety protocols in line immigration and health regulations to prevent the importation of the coronavirus.
Beaches, pubs, cinemas and nightclubs are to remain closed until further notice.
Following the downtick in the active coronavirus cases, the President further eased sanctions on educational institutions, allowing for continuing students in tertiary institutions that have not completed their studies for the academic year to return to school on August 24, 2020 to complete their studies for the academic year.
But they were to strictly observe safety and hygiene protocols that governed the earlier opening of schools for final year student who returned to campus to write their exit examinations. There would be no mass gatherings and sporting activities. Social distancing and the wearing of face masks is a must on campus.
The institutions included the University of Cape Coast, the University of Health and Allied Sciences, Technical Universities, and some other Colleges.
President Akufo-Addo also disclosed that the education ministry was engaging with relevant stakeholders to conclude discussions on the modalities for the reopening of pre-tertiary schools.
“You can be rest assured that I will always take into prime consideration the safety and wellbeing of our children, teachers and non-teaching staff in the decisions that will be taken, because I am determined to ensure that the education of our children is not unduly disturbed by this pandemic,” he stated.
President Akufo-Addo also commended the Electoral Commission for the “efficient, safe, transparent nature” of the just completed voter registration exercise.
He expressed regret and condemned the incidents of violence during the exercise, but was confident of the Police to dealing with those conccurences without fear or favour.
“The Ghanaian people have, by the conduct of this exercise, demonstrated our commitment, once again, to consolidating our status as a beacon of democracy on the continent and in the world,” he held.
The President reminded Ghanaians that the phased opening up of the country put an obligation and responsibility on everyone “to remain vigilant, and respect the enhanced hygiene, mask wearing and social distancing protocols that have become part and parcel of our daily routine.”
Those measures, he said, were proving to be effective “so let us employ them wholeheartedly.”
“That is the way we can restore, as quickly as possible, the blessings of normalcy for which we all yearn…There is no room for complacency, we must be very much on our guard, because some countries have experienced spikes after recording major achievements in containing the spread of the virus.
“We should not go down that road. Social distancing, enhanced hygiene and wearing of masks are obligatory for each one of us,” he stressed.