The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced health and safety measures to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in countries where it has a presence, including its headquarters in Abidjan.
The measures include telecommuting, video conferencing in lieu of physical meetings, the suspension of visits to Bank buildings, and the cancelation of all travel, meetings, and conferences, until further notice.
President of the Bank, Akinwumi Adesina made the announcements at a Bank-wide virtual Town Hall meeting from the institution's headquarters in Abidjan. He stated that the measures were being taken in the best interest of public health and safety.
“My primary responsibility is to you, to make sure you are safe, to make sure your families are safe, to make sure you can function where you are under the best possible conditions health and security-wise,” Adesina said.
Adesina said all efforts are being made to ensure continuity of the Bank’s operations including electronic documentation and approvals. All Bank staff worked from home on Wednesday to test-run IT systems.
The Bank has already taken several other steps to counter an escalation of the virus, including a 14-day self-quarantine for employees returning from high-risk countries. Other multilateral institutions in Asia, Europe, and Latin America have taken similar actions to prevent the spread of the virus.
Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019, the Bank has closely monitored the situation through its medical centre, emergency management team, and its operational and executive crisis committees. Staff have regularly been provided with medical guidance and preventive measures are in place to protect staff and families from contamination by the virus.
A three-level COVID-19 response plan has also been developed to avert, manage and mitigate the effect of the pandemic on Bank's staff and their families, while ensuring business continuity in the event of an escalation of the situation on the continent.
“The situation deserves that we change how we work and where we work from,” Adesina said. Cases so far in Ghana
Ghana has so far recorded 11 cases of COVID-19 but no death.
The figure according to health experts may go up in the coming days.
Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said predictions by health experts are that the number of cases may shoot up within the next two weeks before a likely decline of the spread of the disease.
Addressing the press on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah assured that the authorities have expressed readiness for any impending case and therefore called on Ghanaians to be calm and take precautionary measures seriously.
“The health experts tell us that the next two weeks are critical in determining whether or not we will get significant community spread. They tell us that, the general theory of pandemic management is that, often the numbers are likely to go up a bit before the situation gets better. Therefore, they are bracing for the possibility of some limited recordings of more cases in the medium term but they continue to assure us that, the systems they are putting together are such that we are able to control it and hold this virus in check,” he said.
Nine out of the 11 cases so far recorded are Ghanaians. The other two include a Norwegian and a Lebanese. Contact-tracing figure now 399
The Ghana Health Service website dedicated to updating Ghanaians on the outbreak in the country had captured that 399 contacts had been identified as persons who came into contact with the first six affected patients.
“With regards to contact tracing, a total of 399 contacts have been identified and are being followed up. Nineteen (19) of the contacts developed some forms of symptoms and samples were taken for laboratory testing,” the website stated.