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General News of Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Source: Ghanaian Times

Coronavirus: Ghanaians reduce trips to short distances – Report

A latest report on mobility among the Ghanaian population has established a decrease in travels following the lifting of the two-week partial lockdown imposed in parts of the country to contain spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Assessing movements within regions and districts in hitherto restricted areas like the Greater Accra Region and Kumasi in the Ashanti Region as well as other areas around the country, the report found that though movements had slightly increased, it remains lower than the norm.

Generally, it noted that trips were mainly restricted to short distances and routine daily trips related to activities such as commuting to work, shopping and entertainment.

Jointly conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), Flowminder Foundation, a non-profit organisation and Vodafone Ghana, the report used data from mobile network operators to understand mobility patterns of the citizenry for decision making in managing the pandemic.

The organisations analysed the effects of mobility and social distancing interventions between February 17 and May 3, 2020, highlighting the differences in population movements before, during and after the mobility restrictions were introduced and lifted.

Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Annim, in a release copied to the Ghanaian Times yesterday, commended the public for showing discipline after the lockdown and not reverting to old ways of living.

“The observation that mobility after the partial lockdown was lifted remains at levels lower than mobility during the periods of the baseline and the initial restrictions, including sanctioning social distancing and adherence to public health hygienic protocols, endorses the effectiveness of the use of moral suasion as a complementary intervention in the fight against COVID-19.

“Residents in Ghana deserve commendation for not reverting to the ways of living prior to the imposition of the initial restrictions and are therefore urged to continue with change in behaviour in order to contain the epidemic,” he said.

Prof. Annim was confident the report will support policymaking and decisions in government response to the pandemic moving forward.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vodafone Ghana, Patricia Obo-Nai, noted that mobility insights were crucial in evaluating the effectiveness of measures put in place by government in fighting COVID-19.

She, thus, hoped that more research is focused in the area to support policymaking.

On her part, Data Scientist at Flowminder, Tracey Li, observed that the overall trend in reduction of movement could be helpful in case management and treatment of COVID-19 cases.

As of yesterday, Ghana had a total of 6096 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1,773 recoveries and 31 deaths.

Of the number tested positive to the virus, 4,128 had come from contact tracing; 1,853 from routine surveillance and 115 from mandatory quarantine, meaning that contact tracing, was helping discover more infected persons in the country.

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