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Opinions of Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Columnist: Adjetey Sowah

Lockdown the country or not over coronavirus

Coronavirus disease 2019 is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The disease was first identified in 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei China, and has since spread globally, resulting in the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Muscle pain, sputum production, diarrhea, and sore throat are less common. While the majority of cases result in mild symptoms.

The virus is typically spread from one person to another via respiratory droplets produced during coughing. It may also be spread from touching contaminated surfaces and then touching one's face.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that, the Covid-19 pandemic is accelerating, having taken 67 days to reach 100,000 cases worldwide but just four to go from 200,000 to 300,000 cases. Due to this, the UK has no option than to call for a lockdown to stem the fight against the spread of the virus.

In the US, Donald Trump claimed he would “re-open” the country after 15 days, attempting to play down the coronavirus death toll by comparing it to flu and car crashes- The Independent News.

This is tragic. We are indeed not in normal times as the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo said in his second address to the nation on update of the COVID19 on 15th March 2020.

So the question is, is it time for Ghana to consider a possible lockdown as a measure to fight this deadly disease called Covid-19? Is it now the time for the president to take drastic measures to either contain or control the virus by locking down the two major cities of the country where the spread of the disease is increasing day in- day out?

It is really a serious time for the president of the republic of Ghana to take a serious decision to stem the fight against COVID19 from further spread to the other parts of the country. Should the entire country be locked down or only the two major cities? And if either of them, must it be a partial lockdown or a total lockdown? Especially when professional bodies are calling and putting pressure on the government to consider a possible shut down of the country as a preventive measure to fighting the novel disease- coronavirus.

Health experts are impressing up on the government to shut down country so as to stop further spread of the disease. A researcher with the Nuguchi Medical and Research Institute, Professor Kwabena Annan has urged the government to lockdown the country for at least three weeks to spread of the disease as he warned that the country should brace itself for more cases of the coronavirus.

“Speaking on GHOne TV Tuesday night, Professor Annan warns that the way the situation is, we should expect more cases.”

The trade Union Congress has also appealed to the president Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo not to hesitate to issue a complete lockdown of the country as a means of protecting the citizenry against the deadly Covid-19. In a statement signed and issued in Accra by the secretary general of the union, Dr. Yaw Baah said by all indications, the country’s health system was not equipped enough to address any mass outbreak of Covid-19.

Mr. President, we are all in this together for that matter, why not consider what the experts are saying regarding the close down of the country against further spread of Covid-19. As they say “the voice of the people of the voice of God,” or as the word of God says “in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14b).

But wait ooh, are all those calling on the president to consider a lockdown either partial or total, have they considered the economic effects of the lockdown, housing systems in the country-where people live in compound houses, quality of social amenities in the country?

How are we going to feed the poor, especially those living in the slums? Yes, other countries are doing it and I must say it is working to fight the virus. China did it and it worked. Can we also do it?

Do we have the facilities and the means to go for either a total or partial lockdown? This call for a lock down is indeed a critical one for the president to make looking at the rate of death across the globe caused by the coronavirus, and the increase in confirmed cases in the country. Ghana has recorded cases of 52 as at 24th March 2020.

Should we go for shutdown of the country as a measure to fight against this deadly disease-Covid-19 or not, is the question lingering on the minds Ghanaians at this challenging times where more and more people are contracting the disease in the country?

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