Ghana recorded a total of 1,462 deaths attributable to COVID-19 as of May 15, 2023, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has disclosed.

The last death borne out of the pandemic was recorded on January 8, 2023, he noted.

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) confirmed the country’s first COVID-19 case on March 12, 2020. Since then, 171,758 positive cases have been recorded out of the 2,538,198 tests conducted.

The President, giving an update on the pandemic in an address to the nation, on Sunday, extended the government’s condolences to the families of those who have perished.

“May their souls rest in perfect peace,” he prayed.

On vaccination, the President said, as of May 25, this year, 25,170,382 vaccine doses had been administered.

“There are 10,536,420 fully vaccinated people, that is, 52.7 per cent out of the 20 million people target we had set, with 4,599,883 persons having received booster doses,” he hinted.

Touching on the COVID-19 restrictions, he said all the outstanding restrictions at the airports and all entry points had been lifted, and “we are back to the pre-COVID situation as far as health entry requirements are concerned”.

“It will be recalled that, three years ago, we started with drastic measures and restrictions; the international airport was shut for months, and our land borders were closed to human traffic for almost three years.

“The hospitality industry was devastated, hotels and restaurants and other social gathering places were shut down, schools and universities and training institutions were shut down.

“Indeed, our world was turned upside down,” the President recalled.

He lamented how that culturally defining Ghanaian symbol, the handshake, was prohibited and frowned upon and “we were advised not to hug our children and our loved ones.”

The most important of these decisions, he said, was that “the COVID-19 pandemic was over in Ghana”.

The World Bank, on the devastating effects of the pandemic on Ghana, says the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated poverty, disparities, and social conditions in the country – disproportionately impacting the poor and vulnerable.

Ghana received applause from the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the effective measures and strategies adopted to reduce infections and deaths in the wake of the pandemic.

These include the expansion of the laboratory system’s capacity, through streamlined digital solutions, for timely case detection, diagnosis, and reporting.

The number of laboratories was expanded from two to 16 nationwide in less than a year.

Additionally, the capacity of the contact tracing system was strengthened, with 1,340 surveillance officers trained during the first three months of project execution.

Case management capacity was also reinforced with the establishment of 21 treatment centers and 129 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in 10 of the 16 regions.

President Nana Akufo-Addo lauded frontline health workers, pharmaceutical companies, the Ministry of Health, as well as key stakeholders whose efforts helped in saving many lives.