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Editorial News of Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Source: Ghanaian Times

Ghanaian Times: Accra’s disinfection exercise must be a case study for other regions

The severity of the coronavirus (COVID-19) cannot be trivialised anymore as Ghana’s confirmed cases keep rising by the day with one death already recorded.

What makes matters more complex is the number of infected persons with Ghanaian nationality which stands at 17 out of the 24 confirmed cases.

Already, there are fears of a community spread as three of the confirmed cases are suspected to have been contracted locally, perhaps, accounting for government’s intensified measures to contain the spread of the disease.

Aside laid down precautionary measures for citizens to adhere to, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his third public address to Ghanaians on Saturday among others, announced a complete closure of the country’s borders to human traffic for the next two weeks.

Additionally, government through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) directed a disinfection of markets in the Greater Accra Region as part of measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

About 137 markets were earmarked for the day’s exercise in the region which forms part of a larger plan to disinfect public spaces across the country under the coordination of the various Regional Coordinating Council’s (RCCs).

As early as 5:00am yesterday, the exercise begun with some 500 military personnel’s detailed to supervise the about 1,300 sprayers who concurrently sprayed markets in 28 districts in the region.

Generally, the exercise which saw the use of some sophisticated equipment’s including drones and spraying trucks was successful as there was a high level of compliance on the part of traders and business owners in designated areas, creating minimal setback to the initiative.

The Ghanaian Times however cannot overlook some glitches that came up in the course of the exercise which must be looked at as the ministry’s extends the intervention to other regions in the coming days.

As monitored by our reporters, there were incidences of some traders hiding in obscure places in the markets to sell their wares with the excuse of it going bad if not sold. There were also instances of some goods not properly covered in the market, exposing them to the chemicals used for spraying.

It was again observed that some suppliers, oblivious of the exercise, had made their way to the markets to sell to traders as some Ghanaians were also seen gathered at streets corners out of curiosity to watch the exercise.

In a particular situation at the Central Business District, the military had to use some force to ward off the people gathered as several pleas to them to stay away from the area fell on deaf ears.

It is in the light of these that the Ghanaian Times urges authorities to take a cue from yesterday’s exercise to better organise subsequent disinfection exercises if we are to reap the maximum benefit.

It is also important that public announcements are done early enough to give ample time for citizens to purchase the needed foodstuffs to avoid panic buying and price hikes as well as give traders the opportunity to properly secure their wares ahead of such exercises.

We also advise that in the spirit of cooperation citizens should be well briefed on the need to abstain from amassing during such exercises so as not to put anyone in harm’s way.

This is the time we need the maximum cooperation of all to succeed in combating the coronavirus and any slight hitch may be costly to the fight.

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