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Editorial News of Thursday, 28 May 2020

Source: Ghanaian Times

Ghanaian Times: Easing coronavirus restrictions; Are we ready?


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It is the hope, perhaps, of many people that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will announce a possible further easing of the Imposition of Restriction Act, 2020 (Act 1012), especially on public gatherings for us to gradually go back to our normal life.

The ban on public gathering, ostensibly to check the community spread of the COVID-19 is still in place till the end of May, when it would either be renewed for another period of time or eased.

The public’s expectation for a possible lifting of the ban on public gatherings and gradually opening of our sea, land and airports has been heightened by the President’s virtual address, last Sunday, to mark Eid-ul Fitr, the end of the month-long fasting.

The President disclosed that stakeholder consultations were ongoing, to feed into government’s decision on how to ease the restrictions and return life back to normal.

Although, the President did not categorically state that the restrictions would be lifted by the end of May, some people appear to have jumped the gun, expecting that the restrictions would be lifted by the end of May.

We have been under abnormal times for over two months, following the widespread of COVID-19 disease in the country as a result of the global outbreak resulting in a three-week lockdown of Greater Accra Region, Greater Kumasi Metropolitan area and Awutu Senya East Municipality of the Central Region in March.

Indeed, the restrictions have appreciably helped to contain the disease. Even though there are still spikes in infections, recovery rates are going up and the people who succumbed to the disease are known to have pre-existing health conditions.

We look forward to more people recovering for the country to contain the disease. But we know that to prevent the spread of the disease, we have to strictly observe the health preventive protocols outlined by the government.

There is still more room for improvement, implying we need to strictly observe the health protocol.

Undoubtedly, it is highly uncomfortable to be under restriction for a long period because it takes away our fundamental human rights such as freedom of religion, (to gather and worship), freedom of assembly, freedom to pursue one’s economic interests among others.

Inasmuch as we cannot be under restriction in perpetuity, we should also be honest to ask ourselves whether we are prepared to live with the challenges of the disease in a free environment.

The answer is, we must thread with caution! We expect the public to manage its expectations of a possible easing of the restrictions. We need to be careful in order to avoid a second wave of the spread.

The Ghanaian Times is concerned about the fact that there is still ignorance about the reality of the disease. People still go about their lives as if we are in normal times.

Lots of people do not observe the health protocols, including social distancing, especially at the market centres considered to be a fertile ground for the spread of the disease because of the concentration of people.

Yes, we need our lives back. Students are fed up staying home, lots of stranded Ghanaians want to return home from abroad, Muslims and Christian need to congregate and worship. We need to socialise!

As we await that moment, there is still the urgent need to also prepare well for the easing of the restriction by adhering to all the ‘protocols’ that would come with the easing of the restriction.

More importantly, however, we must know that there is no unfettered freedom. Freedom comes with responsibility. We all need to be responsible to continue to protect public health in a free environment!

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