Ghana makes wearing of face masks in public mandatory

A security personnel from town council wearing a face mask controls trafic, as Ghana enforces partial lockdown in the cities of Accra and Kumasi to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Madina neighborhood of Accra, Ghana, March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko
President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

The Ghanaian government made the wearing of face masks in public compulsory as the country tries to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.

President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the order on Sunday in a televised address and directed the police to enforce it.

Ghana had previously begun introducing measures to gradually make the wearing of face masks in public mandatory. In April, the wearing of face masks was made compulsory in public in the Greater Accra region and the Cape Coast Metropolis.

The Ministry of Health also issued a directive in the same month telling citizens to wear face masks in public places where it may be difficult to maintain social distancing.

According to President Akufo-Addo, the rising numbers are as a result of increased testing and an indication that the virus was still spreading. Ghana has carried out one of the highest number of tests in the continent at 254,331. The West African nation is one of the worst affected countries on the continent registering 11,964 positive coronavirus cases. However, it has one of lowest number of deaths from the deadly virus at 54.

Ghana has begun gradually lifting restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the virus. Final year students in secondary schools and universities are expected to resume classes on Monday and restrictions on religious gatherings have been eased. Maintenance of social distancing also remains mandatory in public places and border crossings are still closed.