I am pleased to be able to reach out to you once again, as we travel through this COVID period. The brunt of the crisis has been borne and we are now in the “Coexisting with the virus” stage.
The Northern Region of Italy was locked down on 23rd February 2020, followed by the whole country being lockdown and locked-in on 9th March 2020, with the declaration of the Covid 19 pandemic.
We were not ready for such a crisis, which has not only taken over the year 2020, but changed the whole world. The change it has brought to us individually and as a society, has been far reaching. We have had to accept and make the necessary changes to our way of life. We have had to adhere to the requisite health and social distancing protocols issued by the Italian authorities during the varying phases of the crisis. This has resulted in sacrifices to our work and incomes. It has not been an easy four months, but you have been able to stay the course despite the challenges.
I must applaud you all for your perseverance though the very difficult times. Please accept my sincere gratitude to you for being law-abiding throughout. You have lived up to the reputation that the Ghanaian Community has throughout Italy, as one of the best-behaved communities in the country. AYEKOO ! !
My heartfelt sympathies go to all the families which have had to bear a loss at this time. Our hearts and prayers have been with you despite the social distancing. May the souls of your loved ones rest in perfect peace.
We give thanks to God for those who have recovered, and pray that they will not suffer from any stigmatization.
The Italian authorities undertook phased measures to slowly bring the country out of the lockdown situation from the 4th May 2020. As was recently announced by the Italian Government, we are now in the phase of “co-existing with the virus”. From 3rd June 2020, the borders of Italy were opened for travel within Europe depending on the rules in the country of destination. Additionally, travel within different regions of the country also begun from 3rd June, 2020. This has provided opportunity for travelling to Rome to regularize all your outstanding documentation needs.
The Embassy has therefore been able to begin a partial resumption of Consular Services to the public, as has been advertised on the Embassy’s website. A novel way of accessing Consular services has been introduced. This service however, is STRICTLY via telephone or email appointment basis only. We know you all urgently need the service and the Embassy is poised to serve you as efficiently as possible. I urge you to continue to obey the hygiene protocols while travelling to Rome. Please also obey the procedures put in place at the Embassy. These are for your safety and the safety of the staff as well. The earlier stricter measures adopted by the authorities which certainly resulted in the reduction of the numbers of COVID-19 infection rates and the number of deaths, are even more important now. It important to stress that the measures adopted by the Embassy also are for strict compliance and are crucial for the objective of preventing the risk of further infections.
Even though things are much improved in Italy, there still remain active sources of contagion. As President Sergio Mattarella has cautioned, the threat posed by the virus has not ended. It is in this light that the Embassy urges you to continue to be prudent, stay vigilant and maintain the requisite social-distancing measures. As much as possible, we should adopt the Italian slogan “#iorestoacasa”, stay at home and stay safe.
In the meantime, I know you are all looking forward to the day that travel back to Ghana will be possible.
I was recently interviewed by a section of the Ghanaian media on the eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy, entitled “Sharing the Italian Experience”. I used the opportunity to inform of your wellbeing, and spoke on the challenges you have been able to overcome during this period.
Our President, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, continues to encourage Ghanaians with information on all that the government is doing to keep the disease in check at home, despite the increase in positive cases identified. In his message broadcast of 14th June 2020, assured that the qualitative data, obtained from the continued policy of Testing, Tracing and Treatment of the incidence of the disease, provides the best information for the authorities to effectively curb the spread of the disease, and ultimately in the reduction of confirmed cases. By being guided by the data, the government is able to therefore plan the best way to ease the restrictions. Mr. President appealed for the cooperation all Ghanaians to overcome this coronavirus crisis, which will in turn be necessary for the health of the economy. He therefore called upon us all to work together towards building a strong vibrant economy, creation of jobs for the masses of the young people and providing opportunities and aspirations for all. Ghana will then no longer be a pawn nor victim of the world order. By this, the vision of the founding fathers of a free, progressive and prosperous Ghana will be attained.
So have the assurance, that at home in Ghana, all is being done to keep your families safe. At the same time, the government is working hard to protect and build up the Ghanaian economy. With the experience you have had here during the extremely difficult days of the crisis, you are in the best position to advise your family members and friends at home of the importance of cooperating with the authorities and keeping to the hygiene protocols, particularly the social distancing.
Fellow Compatriots, though things are much better and we have been released from the lockdown, the crisis is not over yet. We all have a role to play in ensuring that we do overcome and are able to get out of this coronavirus situation with all its consequences.
Our President His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, said recently “we are in this together and we will come out of this together” Let us therefore make it our goal to remain patient, law abiding, respectful of the rules instituted by our local authorities, both there in Italy and in Ghana and cooperate with them as they continue to put in place the measures that will save our lives, and the economy.
May God continue to bless us all and our homeland Ghana.
EUDORA HILDA QUARTEY KORANTENG (MRS.)