The Government of Ghana (GoG) has warned Ghanaians not to visit countries in West Africa that have recorded cases of the deadly Ebola virus disease.
In a travel advisory issued at a press conference in Accra Thursday, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hannah Tetteh, emphasised the need for Ghanaian citizens to avoid travelling to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, where Ebola has killed over a thousand people.
Tetteh said: “The Ministry of Finance on behalf of the government of Ghana is advising all Ghanaians citizens not to travel to the Ebola affected countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia unless it is absolutely necessary. Even then, we will encourage you not to travel, especially given the accelerated presence of the ebola disease.”
The Foreign Minister bluntly warned that the government may not come to the aid of Ghanaians who ignore its advice and end up encountering some challenges in those countries.
“Please note that now that we have given this travel advisory, in the event that you do travel to those countries and you are caught up in some difficulty, please know that if the government of Ghana is not immediately in a position to respond, we have given you fair warning that this is something we believe you should desist from doing,” she said.
Tetteh went on to announce government’s suspension of all international meetings scheduled to take place in Ghana in the next three months.
According to her, the move is necessary to ensure that the conferences do not facilitate the spread of Ebola in Ghana.
“Invariably, most of the international meetings that take place involve regional meetings that have the potential of bringing in visitors from other parts of the subregion,” she explained.
Ebola continues to spread in West Africa, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) reporting 1,013 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone as of Saturday.
According to WHO, the disease is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people, and severely ill patients require intensive supportive care.
The Ministry of Health has already outlined measures it plans to take to prevent an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Ghana, including screening people that arrive in the country, especially from countries that have recorded cases.
The move is intended to ensure that people infected with Ebola are not allowed into the country.
Ebola treatment centres are being set up in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale to cater for the infected, in the event that the disease somehow finds its way into the country.
Public education on the Ebola disease has also been intensified, while frontline staff at various health facilities nationwide as well as officials at the country’s border posts are being sensitised to identifying suspected Ebola cases and isolating victims.
The Sector Minister, Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, has also assured Ghanaians that the Ministry is prepared to confront and contain the disease if it showed up in the country, adding that the Ebola situation in West Africa had “strengthened our preparedness and response to possible EVD (Ebola Virus Disease) in Ghana”.
He also pledged the government’s commitment “not renege on our efforts to protect the people of Ghana especially our health workers who are at the fore front of this battle against Ebola Virus Disease”.
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