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General News of Friday, 22 May 2020

Source: GNA

Oppong Nkrumah urges media to lead national discourse on coronavirus restrictions

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

Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information has called on the media to lead the national discourse to ease the COVID-19 restrictions, while the virus remains in the world’s ecosystem.

“We need to start having a national conversation and consultations of various stakeholders about this and get as many perspectives as possible.

“Indeed some of the consultations have started already with some groups, he said, but we want to encourage our colleagues in the media to join us to play your part in this level of public engagements of what it takes to live a new normal while the virus remains in the global ecosystem as we protect ourselves”, the Minister said.

The deeper the public engagement, the better options we would have, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said at the COVID-19 media briefing update on Thursday in Accra.

He said as COVID-19 remained a global pandemic, with the virus spreading in many countries, and nations struggling to find a vaccine or a cure to it, the current situation where people were asked to stay at home to avoid the virus, as the best preventive measure, could not go on in perpetuity.

“And so at some point, as we are seeing all over the world, there will need to be an easing of some of the restrictions, even while the virus remain in the global ecosystem.

“So the expression, which we have been inviting the nation to a conversation around is, living as normally as we can, while the virus remain in the ecosystem”.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah said it was, therefore, necessary for Ghana to find ways by which it could ease some of the restrictions, by looking at what it takes to live as normally as possible, while the virus remained, and while ensuring that the population was adequately protected.

He said even though the state had not thought of any specific timelines yet, ‘we must start confronting the reality, and start the broader consultation in determining what time is good to come up with the easing of the restrictions, while ensuring that the populations are protected.’

He said with the COVID-19 global spread and the fact that there was no known vaccine and cure yet, Ghanaians as a people needed to find ways of living around it as was done elsewhere.

After Ghana recorded its first two Coronavirus cases in the country on March 12, the government introduced the COVID-19 restrictions on movement and other social gatherings on March 16.

These restrictions also included; ban on church activities and services, which really affected this year’s Easter celebrations of the
Christians, as well as those of the Muslim faith, especially in their Ramadan season.

There was also the ban on the organisation of workshops and conferences, and restriction of funeral ceremonies to only private burials of not more than 25 members in attendance, and the closure of all schools from the basic to the tertiary levels.

However, the restrictions on the movement of people had since been removed but the closure of the national borders and schools still remained while the people were encouraged to wear face or nose masks whenever they moved out of their houses or stay at home.