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Entertainment of Monday, 23 March 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Our hands are tied – Minister tells ‘stranded’ Pappy Kojo

Ghanaian musician Pappy Kojo will have to stay in Italy a little longer as his burning desire to fly back to Ghana has been doused by Barbara Oteng Gyasi, minister of tourism, arts and culture.

The rapper had earlier cried to authorities despite the ban on travels to evacuate him and other Ghanaians trapped in Italy as death toll from the coronavirus pandemic continued its relentless rise.

“I’m not safe, I live just across a busy street and people keep using that road every minute which is not safe for me, I’ve been calling out to the government; yet no response,” he told MzGee on 3FM’s Showbuzz.

“I’m a Ghanaian and I’ve done a lot for this country in terms of creative arts. Sincerely I’m not safe, I have something to feed on now but I’m afraid I might soon run out of food,” Pappy Kojo added.

Responding to the call on the same platform, Madam Oteng Gyasi said the ministry understands the plight of the musician; however, the request, unfortunately, cannot be granted.

“Currently, travelling is out of the question. We’re not encouraging people to come to Ghana,” she said.

"Ghanaians can return home but if you’re in a country which is locked down and you don’t have flight coming in, then how do you travel? He wants to be jetted back to Ghana? How is that possible? We cannot arrange a jet to bring an individual back.

“We’re trying to contain a situation and the directive is that for countries which have recorded over 200 cases, we are not allowing people from those countries into Ghana because we are also trying to contain the situation here. And I believe that wherever he finds himself, if he follows the guidelines from the protocols, he will be safe," she added.

Italy’s death toll rose to 651 on Sunday, bringing its total to 5,476. It was an increase of 13.5 percent but down from Saturday's figure when 793 people died.

Globally, more than 13,000 people have now died from the pandemic. An estimated 92,000 of the 304,500 people who contracted the disease globally have recovered.

In Ghana, 24 cases have been confirmed and there are fears the number will rise. Some stakeholders of the industry have been counting their losses following the ban on public gatherings which has consequently led to the cancellation of events, closure of nightclubs among others, in the quest to prevent the disease from spreading.

While recognizing the effects of the crisis on Ghana’s arts and entertainment industry, the minister said efforts are being made to save the sector.

“The sector is really suffering,” she admitted. “The ministry recognizes the impact it has had on the industry and we have engaged industry players through the Ghana Tourism Authority. It’s currently in the process of collating information from them in respect to what government can do to support them so it is not completely crippled by this health issue.”