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General News of Saturday, 21 November 2020

Source: GNA

Public drops guard on COVID-19 safety protocols in Volta, Oti regions

File photo of a market street File photo of a market street

Disregard for precautionary and safety protocols to fight the spread of COVID-19 pandemic has dipped in the Volta and Oti regions.

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his 19th address to the nation has alerted of the fear of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and the need to intensify the safety protocols.

An observation conducted by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in key Municipal and District Assemblies in the two regions indicates an outright disregard for the observance of the safety protocols after monitoring key institutions and public places.

GNA monitoring of Ho Municipality, Ketu South, Akatsi South and North, Sogakope, Hohoe, and Kpando in the Volta region, as well as Krachi East and Kadjebi in the Oti region, revealed strict adherence to the safety protocols by health institutions, schools including Universities, state agencies as well as isolated shops and malls.

The Churches and Mosques are another set of groups adhering strictly to the national safety measures.

There are visible Veronica buckets filled with water, tissue papers, liquid soaps, and hand sanitizers to facilitate good hand washing and hygiene protocols.

Staff and students in the educational sector are religious about the observance of the healthy precautionary measures and masks are a common feature with many inscriptions on classroom walls and lecture halls constantly reminding them of their responsibility to abide by the protocols.

Worse offenders doing a disservice to the maintenance of the safety protocols are traders at the markets, passengers, and drivers at lorry stations and pubs. They have brazenly refused to comply and are endangering themselves and others.

Again, the wearing of nose masks was not being enforced in these areas, workers of the supermarkets were not also in their nose masks and social distancing was not practised with the usual 'no masks, no entry' insignia absent and not upheld.

When the team visited the Ho market, most of the sellers and buyers were not in their nose masks and the social distancing protocols were not being observed.

Some shops in the market did not make it possible for customers to wash their hands as there was no presence of liquid soap, Veronica buckets, and hand sanitizer.

Madam Joyce Vihoho, Queen Mother of Ho Central Market said “Ghanaians do not obey rules,” because people are not observing the safety protocols and this had led to a marginal upsurge of the virus.

She added that during the first wave of COVID-19, people adhered to the safety protocols strictly but when it decreased they relaxed and are not practising it, especially wearing nose masks and social distancing.

There was a different scenario when the team visited some schools in the Municipality, where students including staff were observing the various COVID-19 protocols.

Mr Victor Lawluvi, Headmaster of Methodist Junior High school said additional PPEs were received on 6th October which included 146 sanitizers, 116 nose masks, eight bundles of tissue paper, five gallons of liquid soap.

He added that though the PPEs were received students needed to be constantly reminded to adhere to the protocols.

A visit to the Hohoe Market saw most sellers and buyers, not in masks.

Daavi Becky, Secretary of Hohoe Market Women Association, confirmed the reduction in the wearing of masks among traders.

She said most people thought the virus was no longer in existence.

"We will hold a meeting with our members and reinforce the wearing of masks as well as washing of hands and use of hand sanitizers," she added.

The GNA also saw Veronica buckets positioned at various entrances of the market and lorry station for hand washing but most people failed to use them.

The lorry stations were no different from the markets and the streets of Hohoe.

Visits by the GNA to some major public places including some Churches and the Akatsi Central market, one of the highly populated business centres in the Volta region, henceforth, express dislike for the safety measures.

"Business is normal, I do not think this COVID-19 thing is around us again," Mrs Josephine Gademor, a petty trader disclosed to the GNA.

Dr Senanu Kwesi Djokoto, Deputy Volta Regional Director of Health, In-Charge of Public Health, speaking in an interview with the GNA lamented that adherence to the safety protocols at markets, lorry terminals, and pubs were not encouraging and this posed a great challenge to efforts being made to tackle the pandemic.

He, however, observed that institutions, agencies, schools, hospitals among others were observing the COVID-19 preventive protocols, commending and urging them to continue as the fight against the virus had not yet been won.

The Deputy Director said his outfit was intensifying education throughout the Region and had already covered nine districts to ensure that people observed the protocols of regular hand washing, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and wearing of masks to stem the spread of the disease.

Dr Djokoto called on traditional authorities, Assembly-members, and opinion leaders to continue to sensitise their people on dangers associated with non-adherence to the safety measures and the need for them to abide by the protocols to help curb the spread of the virus.

He said the region had a total accumulated case of 685 with 12 mortalities and one active case, imploring all to strictly adhere to the health safety protocols “now that awareness is being created that there is a likely second wave across the globe.”

The Deputy Director said a concerted effort was required to defeat the pandemic, thus the need for the citizens to support the government as it made the necessary effort to tackle the disease, urging political actors to conduct their campaign activities with strict adherence to preventive protocols.