HANDLING OF COVID-19 AT GHANA’S PORTS


Jun 30, 2020
           

Ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the latter part of 2019, many have related the global public health adversity to the Spanish flu also known as the 1918 pandemic.

History reports that the 1918 pandemic viral disease had strikingly similar symptoms to COVID-19 and nearly wiped the entire planet, killing over 50 million people, far more than people who died during the First World War and claimed an estimated 100,000 lives in present day Ghana.

Reports indicate that, the disease was introduced into the then Gold Coast by shipping along the Southern Coast and over land across the Northern Frontier.

Therefore, it was not surprising that many countries closed their border frontiers to human and vehicular traffic when COVID-19 broke.

“All our borders, by land, sea and air will be closed to human traffic for the next two weeks,” the President of the Republic, Nana Akufo-Addo stated in one of his addresses earlier in the year.

However, cargo traffic still remained opened.

“This closure will not apply to goods, supplies and cargo,” he continued.

International cargo trade is predominantly by sea, with the Ports of Ghana been responsible for over 80% international cargo trading.

With the history of the devastating record of the 1918 pandemic on hindsight, the Ports of Ghana have been extremely cautious ever since in its protective measures against being used as conduit to importing and spreading viral diseases of significant magnitude like Ebola and COVID-19.

In 2014, significant efforts were made by Ghana’s Ports and Harbours Authority to implement all the best strategies in order for Ghana not to record any cases of the Ebola.

The Port Authority equally undertook measures including training and sensitization as early as January and February, 2020 with both onshore and offshore restrictive measures to avoid any importation of COVID-19 cases although cargoes were being received through the Ports.

The Port authority also banned the receipt of cruise or passenger vessels among others.

It appears all these measures have paid off as no case has so far been transported through ships and the Ports to Ghana as of date.