Sunday, 05 December 2021

Accra, Ghana: President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for calm amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases exacerbated by the Omicron variant.

“I spoke to our Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla who keeps me abreast and he said yes, the virus is more transmissible. However, hospital admissions are not increasing at an alarming rate. It is for that reason I said we should not panic,” the President said.

The President was speaking on Saturday following bilateral talks with his Ghanaian counterpart President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during the Bi-national Commission at the Jubilee House in Accra, Ghana.

“Omicron does not seem to be resulting in a great number of hospital admissions. It’s a virus and it mutates, all we need to rely on is the tools that we have in place,” he said.

The two Presidents agreed that vaccination levels have to be increased.

“This is where more developing economies have been so greedy as to have hoarded vaccines and not made them available. We have had to scrounge around to find vaccines all over and therefore we say vaccination is the biggest defence we have got,” the president said.

Weighing in on vaccine access, President Akufo-Addo said that everyone needs to be vaccinated adding that it must be understood that the virus is still around. He also spoke of the importance of adhering to the health and safety measures that give some degree of protection.

The two Heads of State showed a united front speaking out against travel bans imposed  on South Africa and other countries in Southern Africa.

President Ramaphosa said that he has been requesting Heads of State in countries who have imposed the travel ban, to review their decision.

He reiterated that the travel bans imposed on South Africa are “a slap in the face.”

“It’s no longer just located in Southern Africa. I am saying that those countries must adhere to what was agreed to at the G20, where it was agreed that we must open travel so that our economies can return to normal.

What we should be doing is[to] utilise the tools that we got to mitigate the virus. As people travel around the world, they must test and if they are found to be positive they should quarantine …this has been tested and it works,” he said.

He described the bans as completely “unscientific and unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, President Addo-Dankwa came out strong in support of South Africa saying that the Ghanaian government has repeated its firm opposition to all attempts to single out African countries for the imposition of travel bans “as instruments of immigration control.”

“When we are told for example that Omicron variant of COVID-19 which was recently sequenced and reported by South African scientists was discovered much earlier in the Netherlands. Those scientists should be applauded.” he said.