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General News of Monday, 20 April 2020


Lifting lockdown: Akufo-Addo was not influenced by fear or panic – Oppong Nkrumah

Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Information Minister

Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has rejected assertions by a cross section of the public that President Akufo-Addo succumbed to economic and political pressure when he lifted the three-weeks old partial lockdown in parts of the country.

Some had suggested that the president eased the measures to contain the spread of the deadly Coronavirus to pave way for the Electoral Commission to compile a new voters’ register, a process stalled by the president’s Covid-19 directives.

Others contended among others that the government was running out of cash and supplies, and could not cater for the vulnerable affected by his decision should he extend the lockdown in Greater Accra, Kasoa and Greater Kumasi.

But Kojo Oppong Nkrumah told Johnnie Hughes on TV3 New Day on Monday that the lockdown was lifted purely based on science and data.

“The president as we have said from day one was not driven by panic, fear or feelings, he has not been driven by politics, he is driven by science and data,” the Information Minister stressed.

President Akufo-Addo had on Sunday said: “The decision to impose restrictions on movement was backed by the data at hand, and our next course of action, again, is backed by data and by science,”

As of April 19 Ghana has received the test results of some 68,591 contacts, and with the majority of tests being undertaken over the last 3 weeks, 1,042 persons, i.e. 1.5%, were confirmed as positive, with 67,549, i.e. 98.5%, testing negative. Also 99 persons have recovered and 9 persons with underlining health conditions have died.

According to President Akufo-Addo, “overwhelming majority” of confirmed cases have come from travellers or from people who have come into contact with travellers. He therefore advised all to be vigilant about travelers into the country until further notice.

Meanwhile, when lifting the lockdown in a televised address on Sunday evening, the president said lifting of the partial lockdown in Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Accra, does not mean “we are letting our guard down”.

He insisted that all other measures are still firmly in place, and have not been relaxed.

“In here, I am referring to the suspension of all public gatherings, including conferences, workshops, funerals, parties, nightclubs, drinking spots, beaches, festivals, political rallies, religious activities and sporting events. All educational facilities, private and public, are to remain closed. Businesses and other workplaces can continue to operate, observing staff management and workplace protocols with the view to achieving social distancing and hygiene protocols,” the president stated.