Ghana’s President Akufo-Addo on 31 January announced that governement is reinstating a ban on a number of public functions, including concerts, theatrical performances, weddings and parties.
The announcement was made during Akufo-Addo’s 23rd update to the nation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana. The move forms part of stricter measures by the government to curb the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
On 29 January, Ghana’s active COVID-19 cases exceeded 5 300, with about 416 deaths. Akufo-Addo also said that the daily infection rate increased from 200 a fortnight ago to 700 cases, necessitating the new directives.
“We have a lot of work to do in coming to grips with the disease,” he said. “The analysis continues to tell us that the spread of the virus mostly occurs in indoor, confined spaces with poor ventilation, where people are talking, singing, or shouting without their masks. The imposition of restrictions on our daily routines helped in reducing the prevalence of the pandemic in the country, and government has been left with no option but to re-introduce some of these restrictions in order to help save the situation.”
This is the second time public gatherings in Ghana have been suspended due to the pandemic. Akufo-Addo first announced a ban in March last year. At the time, Ghana had only recorded six positive cases. Social restrictions were gradually eased in the following months. However, in December 2020 Ghana’s tally of cases topped 50 000. At that point, more than 80% of Ghanaians were not complying with COVID-19 safety regulations such as wearing of masks, according to an estimate from the Ghana Health Service.
With the entertainment sector being among the hardest hit by the pandemic and its restrictions, musicians and event organisers have been forced to migrate to virtual platforms to salvage their livelihoods, but many are saying the innovation is hardly moving the needle.
“For many a company in our space, going virtual is simply to create some visibility and keep the brand alive. You won’t even break even,” Joy FM broadcaster and consultant George Quaye said.
Quaye also called on the National Board for Small Scale Industries to advance loans for the creative sector to help creative entrepreneurs keep afloat.
Meanwhile, beaches, night clubs, cinemas and pubs will remain closed. Additionally, Akufo-Addo said that private burials shouldn’t exceed 25 persons.