, 20 March, 2020 / 4:04 AM
As the world struggles to contain the spread of COVID-19 with at least 34 countries in Africa declaring cases of the disease, the President of the West African nation of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has convened a breakfast prayer meeting with all Religious Leaders in the country to seek God’s intervention.
“These are not ordinary times and at such times in a country whose population is predominantly Christian, we must seek the face of the one true God for healing and restoration,” President Akufo-Addo told Ghanaians at the televised Prayer meeting held at the Jubilee House, the seat of the Presidency in Accra, Thursday, March 19.
“I have called you to this prayer meeting for us to join together and pray to the Almighty God to protect our nation, heal this land and save us from this pandemic,” the President said and added, “We are also putting into practice the hope of the words in the holy scriptures in James 5:14 and 15 and I quote ‘If anyone among you sins let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil and a prayer offered in faith will raise him up.”
“I am confident that this morning’s (March 19) prayer, which will be offered in faith will help heal our nation and will help raise Ghana up and I believe profoundly that we the Ghanaian people, with our faith in the Almighty will overcome this challenge. This too will pass,” the Ghanaian Head of State said.
Ghana’s Health Service (GHS) on Thursday, March 19 announced that two more people have tested positive to the coronavirus, bringing the total to 11 in the West African country.
According to the GHS, these new confirmed cases are coming from Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
In an update on their website, the Health Service said the two cases are also imported cases from other countries.
Thursday’s Prayer Meeting was attended by Religious Leaders of the Christian Council of Ghana, Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, and the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference represented by Archbishop John Bonaventure Kwofie of Accra and Fr. Andrew Campbell, SVD, Parish Priest of Christ the King Parish, Accra.
The Religious Leaders individually offered prayers for various intentions including for the country as cases for the novel coronavirus increased to 11, for Ghana, the government, affected persons, health personnel, travelers and Ghanaians in general.
In their prayers, the Religious leaders asked for God’s guidance and protection saying, “Lord let your heaven speak on behalf of Ghana, for the leadership of Ghana to fight this pandemic and keep your eyes on health personnel.”
They prayed for the government by asking for the holy spirit to control the further spread of the disease.
Meanwhile, at a nationwide address on March 18, the Health Ministry, Information Ministry and the Ghana Immigration Service disclosed that the number of individuals cited in the Contact Tracing procedure had risen to 381 across the country.
The Minister said health experts had told government officials that the next two weeks will be critical in Ghana's fight against the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
He said, "The health experts tell us that the next two weeks are going to be critical in determining whether or not we are going to get significant community spread. They tell us that the general theory of pandemic management is that often it is likely the numbers go up a bit before it curves or 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 and continue to ramp-up are such that we will be able to contain it and hold this virus in check,” the Minister of Information said.
In the face of the pandemic, the World Health Organization’s Director-General on Wednesday, March 18 asked African countries to “prepare for the worst” as COVID-19 begins to spread locally, with South Africa becoming the continent’s new focus of concern as cases doubled to 150 in just two days.
Though the pandemic is in its early days on the continent, health experts have warned that even facilities in Africa’s richest nation could be overwhelmed by the virus’ spread.
“I think Africa should wake up. My continent should wake up,” said WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, a native of Ethiopia.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa