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General News of Thursday, 23 July 2020

Source: The Herald

Don’t come near me - Minister tells journalists due to fear of coronavirus


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The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, appears to be fearing for her life in view of the many people in government, who are contracting the deadly Covid-19.

She is, therefore taking no chances by ensuring physical and social distancing to the extent of reminding Journalists who wanted to interview her not to come close to her.

The occasion was the end of a tour of some markets in Accra after the second phase of the national disinfection and fumigation exercise was launched.

The Minister, although in a friendly manner, screamed at Journalists, who pulled out their microphones and recorders to have her answer questions not to come close because she was afraid she could be infected

"Please don't come near. There is corona virus I am afraid. Keep your distance ", she burst out.

Her reaction, although drew a sharp laughter, was largely seen by many Journalists in a right direction since over-crowding, has been the surest way of spreading the virus.

Unfortunately , one member of government , Kwadwo OwusuA friyie, who was the Chief Executive Officer for the Forestry Commission, succumbed to the virus a little over a fortnight ago.

While answering questions, however, the Minister said the second phase of the exercise is to consolidate the gains of the earlier exercise in March this year.

Government, she noted is disinfecting over 2000 markets across the country with the possibility of repeating the exercise every quarter.

The budgeted cost of this quarterly disinfection of markets, lorry parks and public toilets, she revealed is costing the task payer between Ghc60m to Ghc70m .

She used the occasion to express satisfaction to waste management giants, Zoomlion Ghana Limited for having done a good job in the first exercise.

Earlier in the day on Saturday, after the launch ,there were disinfection of other markets which took place in the Ledzokuku municipality .

One feature which was observed aside the spraying exercise was the non compliance of the wearing of the nose masks among residents.

The residents who for unknown reasons, have no regards for the adherence of the safety protocols were seen all over the streets without any nose mask or face shield which generated lot of concern.

Business operators and traders along the major road at Teshie in particular, were not in masks.

The Municipal Chief Executive for Ledzokuku Municipal Assembly, Madam Evelyn Twum-Gyamrah, who admitted to this in an interview with Journalists, bemoaned how the issue has been a bother to her administration.

She narrated distributing 10,000 pieces of nose masks to the residents on three separate occasions, in order to encourage the wearing of the mask.

During the disinfection which took sprayers at the Tsuibleoo, Lascala, Mangoase, Zongo Lane and other markets in the municipality, the police officers who were detailed for the exercise, had to enforce the wearing of masks .

The Second phase of nationwide disinfection exercise was launched by the Greater Accra Regional Minister ,Ishmael Ashietey, and will see to the disinfection of 137 markets in all the 29 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies in the Greater Accra region.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister, said the second phase is intended to complement the earlier one which was undertaken in March .

The second phase, he further stressed would involve the disinfection of not only markets and public toilets, but also public places.

At the Ladekotopon municipal assembly, the Municipal Chief Executive, Solomon Kotey-Nikoi, narrated his administration's handling and management of Covid-19 cases.

He told Journalists that, the municipality has at last Saturday, recorded 144 cases, out of which 107, have recovered.

According to him, three of the patients are on admission, noting that the municipality happens to have an Isolation center for patients, who have tested positive for Covid-19.

Last Saturday's exercise in the municipality saw the disinfection of container shops at the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA).

The biggest beneficiaries on the day, were sellers of these nose masks, who recorded some huge sales when after the punishment, the offenders were made to buy the mask on the spot to wear.

The E: I 164 prescribes a penalty of four to ten years of prison sentence for anyone who flouts the law and fine of between Ghc12,000 and Ghc60,000.

In a related development, a team of security personnel made up of the military, police and fire service were deployed to Agbobloshie for a similar cleanup exercise last weekend.

Over there too, all the traders who were seen without wearing mask, were ordered by the soldiers to take part in the cleanup exercise.

The Zoomlion General Manager for Accra Zone, Mr Ernest Morgan Acquaye, outlined the reasons for the cleanup exercise .

Due to the launch of the second phase of the national disinfection and fumigation of markers and lorry parks on Saturday, Mr Acquaye, said some rodents and wild insects were killed in the process.

Aside the killing of the rodents, he noted that some plastic bags, were blown from one location to the order, due to the spraying machine and in the end generating waste.

It was the responsibility of Zoomlion which is spearheading the disinfection to therefore equally move logistics to clean up the waste that has been generated.

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