Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities extend lockdown measures in Ghana, through April 27 due to coronavirus disease activity.

This alert affects Ghana

This alert began 14 Apr 2020 15:40 GMT and is scheduled to expire 27 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through April 27
  • Impact: Travel and movement restrictions

Summary
Authorities have extended measures to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Lockdown measures in Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi will remain in place at least until April 27 with residents only allowed to undertake essential travel. Intercity travel has been banned, excluding cargo transport.

These measures complement a number of other restrictions already in place.

  • International flights are suspended. Land borders are closed through at least late-April. An extension of the closures is likely. The transport of essential goods and repatriation flights for foreign nationals is ongoing. Delays to the transport of goods are likely given enhanced screening measures.
  • Education facilities and social gathering spots are closed. Gatherings of more than 25 people and specific events, including religious ceremonies, are banned through at least April 26.


Security forces will almost certainly deploy to monitor and manage the restrictions. Clashes between police and persons not complying with the regulations are possible. Extensive business and public transport disruptions are likely through April, particularly in and between Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi. Movement and travel restrictions are also likely in other parts of the country. Measures could include the implementation of curfews. Amendments to existing COVID-19 regulations are likely through April.

The US Embassy issued a Health Alert April 4 noting that some foreign nationals had been impacted by verbal harassment due to misconceptions that foreigners are responsible for spreading COVID-19. There have been several similar reports across the region in recent weeks. There have been no physical attacks reported in Ghana.

Background and Analysis
The measure adopted by the government corresponds with similar actions taken by other global governments in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo. Foreign nationals should maintain a low public profile.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int

Ghana Ministry of Health: www.moh.gov.gh