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General News of Saturday, 23 May 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

GhanaWeb Special: Life in a coronavirus hotspot, how Madina residents are coping

With Ghana becoming one of the first African countries to ease the Coronavirus lockdown restrictions on April 19, 2020, life and economic activities in most parts of the country, seems to have returned to normal despite the ban on social gatherings being in force.

One would assume, typically, that having been declared a hotspot zone in Accra, residents of this enclave would adjust their lifestyles and routines, to ensure they stay safe and curb further spread of the coronavirus.

Since the pandemic erupted, some parts of Accra and Kumasi have been identified as major hotspots with commuters and traders in these areas advised to adhere to all the safety protocols including the wearing of nose masks, social distancing and regular handwashing.

But life was rather different, when GhanaWeb visited the Madina-Zongo Junction area, a suburb of the La-Nkwantanang Madina Municipality.

Surprisingly, there was virtually next to zero adherence to any of the safety protocols advocated by the various health stakeholders.

Barely were people seen observing the social distancing directives and the ‘no-face-mask, no-outing’ rule was more often than not, being disregarded.

The La-Nkwantanang Madina Municipality which forms part of 16 districts in the Greater Accra Region boasts of a large market square where petty traders and businesses ply their trade along with commuters using the busy stretch.

When GhanaWeb’s team first arrived in the area, public transport operators were the only ones seen ensuring the social distancing by reducing the number of persons each vehicle carried.

For the traders, they barely knew the area had been identified as a hotspot. Some even rather pessimistic ones still doubted the authenticity of numbers being churned out by the Ghana Health Service.

Some others, who were safeguarding themselves against the disease shared their experiences with the team.

A middle-aged man, who spoke to the team, recounted how his life changed since pandemic erupted.

“My life and movements have been restricted and as a matter of fact, I'm very careful because I don't know when and who I would contract the disease from so I'm very very careful. My economic activities have also been badly hit because my budget has now been thrown out of gear due to the pandemic”

He also told us he is very much aware the area was a hotspot for the spread of the virus adding, “mandatory testing is the surest way to go”, whilst urging government to “send frontline health workers to the area to commence testing” on residents.

Another resident, a petty trader told us “I have also heard that this coronavirus is very rampant here in this area [Madina] and that we need to really protect ourselves. So, for me, whenever I receive money from a customer, I quickly sanitize my hands and even the money as well before putting it in a rubber”

She was however concerned her business has been rather slower than expected and worried things may never go back to normal for her financially.

“Since we came back from the lockdown, things have really changed drastically, we can't even trade the way we used and to. Going to get goods to restock your shops is even more difficult” she stressed.

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