Ghana lifts virus lockdown on key regions

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Ghana on Monday ended a three-week lockdown on two key regions as the west African nation's leader said testing had improved and the measures were having a "severe" impact on the poor.

President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the lifting of restrictions on around the capital Accra and second region Kumasi in a televised address.

He said the move was being taken "in view of our ability to undertake aggressive contact tracing of infected persons, the enhancement of our capacity to test, the expansion in the numbers of our treatment and isolation centres".

"This decision to restrict movement has occasioned a number of severe difficulties for all of us across the country, especially for the poor and vulnerable," he said in the speech late Sunday.

Ghana has so far confirmed 1,042 infections, with nine deaths, from the novel .

The country of around 30 million has ramped up testing and checked over 68,000 samples.

Measures including the closure of the country's border, shuttering of schools and limiting of public gatherings remain in force.

Akufo-Addo said people were encouraged "to wear a mask wherever you go" to help contain the spread of the virus.

Countries around Africa have imposed a range of restrictions to try to curb the disease—ranging from curfews to total lockdowns.

Enforcing draconian limits on movement can be difficult in states where a large number of people living in poverty depend on daily earnings to survive.

© 2020 AFP

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