WHO calls for suspension of Christmas events to contain rising Covid cases


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stressed the need for all events that will bring large numbers of people together during the Christmas and New Year festivities to be suspended.

According to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, the suspension of all events is what is required to avert a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases during this year’s Christmas and New Year period.

Addressing the media on Tuesday, he said cases involving the Omicron and Delta variants are currently on the increase, stressing: “An event cancelled is better than a life cancelled.”

“It’s better to cancel now and celebrate later, than to celebrate now and grieve later,” Mr. Ghebreyesus added.

“All of us are sick of this pandemic. All of us want to spend time with friends and family. All of us want to get back to normal. The fastest way to do this is for all of us, leaders and individuals, to make the difficult decisions that must be made to protect ourselves and others,” he stated.

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Ghana’s measures

In a related development, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has indicated that stricter measures will be implemented during the Christmas and New Year period to forestall a possible rise in the number of infections.

The Director of Health Promotion at the GHS, Dr. Dacosta Aboagye, said in a radio interview that the measures would include “a ban on all indoor events which fall short of the relevant COVID-19 safety protocols.”

He therefore advised all events organisers to move their indoor events to outdoor areas to help curb the spread of the virus during the period.

Dr Dacosta said the Ghana Health Service, through various stakeholder engagement programmes, was engaging event organisers to make sure the protocols are respected during outdoor events.

He warned that the Service would not allow big indoor concerts which fall short of the relevant Covid-19 safety protocols.

Church activities

Also, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Patrick Kumah Aboagye, has proposed that end-of-year church services should be held either online or in open spaces.

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Speaking on Joy FM yesterday, he said the Service was dialoguing with churches to see how best this can be implemented.

Dr Kumah Aboagye said considering how transmissible the Delta and Omicron variants are, holding indoor events is very risky.

“We know there are a lot of activities planned, but as was said by the President, we are encouraging only open door events, as short as possible and ensuring that all the Covid-19 protocols are observed. But as much as possible, everybody must avoid an indoor event,” he said.

“We have a team that will be working with the Tourism Board to ensure this. And the Crossover (end of year services), which is something we all do in this country, we [should] have it online or in the open spaces,” he added.

Rising cases

Meanwhile, the Director of West African Center for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP), Professor Gordon A Awandare, has announced there is an increase in cases at the various testing sites. He warned that until government acts fast, a surge in January 2022 is imminent.

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The country’s Covid-19 death toll currently stands at 1,263, according to the Ghana Health Service.

This is a result of eight deaths recorded within the last five days. As of December 12, the death toll was 1,255.

In its latest update, the Service reported a surge in the country’s active cases. As of December 16, a total of 1,954 active cases were recorded.

Also, new cases have shot up. About 437 individuals have contracted the virus. These cases were recorded in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions as well as the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

In its previous update, the Ghana Health Service indicated that active and new cases recorded were 973 and 71 cases respectively.

The cases recorded bring Ghana’s confirmed cases to 133,046 since the emergence of the virus last year in March.

So far, 129,829 people who fell prey to the virus have recovered. They have been discharged from the various health facilities.


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