Editorial: Third-wave infections must be contained

Photo: A woman farmer observing one of the COVID-19 protocols (hand washing)

In view of the fact that the highly transmissible strain of COVID-19 which originated from India – the Delta variant – has also been detected in the country, Ghanaians have to brace themselves for a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Ghana is currently in its third wave of infections, and health experts believe the infections will peak in the coming weeks.

An infectious disease professional, Dr. John Amoasi, has consequently advised government to tighten measures put in place to contain the current wave before it gets out of hand.

That is why this Paper is happy to hear Rev Ebenezer Kwame Addae, Manager of Vector Control Unit of Zoomlion, call for a massive disinfection across all public places in the country. Such an exercise is necessary to help mitigate the spike in what appears to be a third wave featuring the deadly Delta variant.

Rev Addae made the call during the scheduled monthly disinfection of Kotoka International Airport (KIA) yesterday. Sprayers from Zoomlion carefully disinfected terminals 1, 2 and 3 with particular focus on door-handles, touchable surfaces as a measure of containing spread of the disease.

This is a welcome development because a massive nationwide disinfection of public places would augment the nation’s safety – particularly at entry points like the KIA, where it is suspected the Delta variant originated from.

Places that were disinfected included departure and arrival halls, washrooms among others.

Additionally, Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman Manu has also indicated that government is considering moves to revise Ghana’s COVID-19 vaccination deployment strategy in view of the Delta variant spread.

Government will prioritise highly populated areas and at-risk groups to help the nation contain spread of the disease.

Concerns have been raised over government’s failure to vary its vaccination strategy in the wake of a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country – particularly as government is struggling to access vaccines to meet its target of vaccinating 20 million Ghanaians by end of the year.

To date, the country has managed to fully vaccinate around 2.7% of its population – and that is some way away before reaching the 20 million target to achieve herd-immunity. President Akufo-Addo during his address to the nation on Sunday, July 25 revealed that government is procuring over 18 million vaccines soon.

This offers a glimmer of hope!

Mid-term budget statement to reinforce job creation

Today, the mid-year budget is expected to be delivered by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, and the country’s youth will be eager to learn what plans are in place to address the high youth unemployment level that keeps rising at an alarming rate.

While World Bank data indicate that about 110,000 students graduate from the country’s tertiary institutions each year, the Institute of Social, Statistical and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana estimates that only about 10 percent of graduates get jobs in their first year.

Earlier, President Akufo-Addo said the mid-year budget will lay out plans to create one million jobs through the Ghana Coronavirus Alleviation and Revitalisation of Enterprises Support (Ghana CARES) programme.

Quite recently, also, the Ministry of Finance granted financial clearance to the Ministry of Education and security services for the recruitment of some 11,800 people. A journey of a thousand miles, we are told, starts with the first step; so many are likely to argue that the promise is being fulfilled.

The president said his administration is determined to pursue an agenda for jobs creation in order to give opportunities for the youth to nurture their talent for the country’s development.

These are quite reassuring words, but the proof of the pudding lies in its eating, so to speak; so while the assurances have been given, the actualisation of same will give added hope to an increasingly despondent youth population that is yearning for opportunities to thrive.

Already, government’s Nation’s Builders Corp (NaBCo) is crying for their salaries. Consequently, many are concerned that the promised 1 million jobs have to be sustainable to give true meaning to job creation efforts.

Just a few days ago, the number of unemployed youth that thronged the El-Wak Sports Stadium and its surrounding streets just to acquire recruitment forms of the Ghana Armed Forces indicated how dire the situation on the ground is.

We do not intend to pre-empt the Finance Minister’s delivery this morning, so we will leave it at that and allow Ghanaians to tune-in and hear what is in store as the economy battles the third wave of Coronavirus pandemic.

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