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Opinions of Friday, 17 April 2020

Columnist: Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo

Coronavirus: A bigger threat looms in giving to the needy

Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo, author Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo, author

The number of persons who have tested positive for Coronavirus in Ghana has hit above 500, giving indication that we are still in perilous times and there are expectations that the lockdown directive may be extended and intensified.

In such period, many people including celebrities and firms are giving assorted items to people in need and the mode with which such donations are being done poses a greater danger in the battle with this virus.

Without realizing the peril, these donations could end up becoming our undoing if proper measures are not put in place by these donors in such exercise.

Congrats to all the donors

Some of these high profile personalities and celebrities alike are showing leadership and empathy by giving to the people who are in dire need of assistance in such dangerous times.

In the face of these weeks of lockdown, there are many people out there who are struggling – in need of just food, water and other basic products. The economy is on a life support, many jobs have been lost and people are in despair, with the feeling of uncertainty reigning on our minds.

For the more privileged to be giving back to the needy calls for commendation and the call is also for others to offer help to make life easy for all of us.

Pictures/videos do not look good

Pictorial evidence on the exercise of these personalities giving to the needy all over the country does not look good.

All the protocols outlined extensively in this fight against the virus are not being followed – unfortunately. Social distancing is not being adhered to in these donation exercises. In one of such videos, people are even seen fighting over the distribution of food.

There are no Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the many people who throng to receive such aid.

Most of these donations are done with no adherence to the critical directives that are supposed to ensure that the spread of the virus is curtailed.

Shockingly, some of these persons and firms who offer to donate, also go out there in the markets and other places with such lax protective gear. It doesn’t look good!



Risky business

Clearly, the virus has shown that it is no respecter of persons; it has killed pastors, politicians, doctors and nurses and ordinary persons – and it is everywhere!

These celebrities, in the bid to give back to the people are putting themselves and the people in need, at such greater risk of contracting the virus when they are firstly not staying home, not respecting social distancing and not donning any form of PPEs.

With the virus now being detected at all places, these donation exercises are potentially becoming breeding grounds for the virus to fester and we do not need this at this moment.

For most of these celebrities, giving and sharing photos and videos of such exercises excite them more than ensuring that the World Health Organization (WHO) and Ghana Health Service (GHS) protocols are strictly adhered to. They are in such a risky business!



Stick to the protocols

It is essential to applaud those giving but it is also crucial for them not to exacerbate the problem. Those giving are perceived to be in a position to understand these protocols and it is expected of them to stick to them as they go out to give.

They ought to link up with the Local Assembly or local Churches to provide seats for proper seating arrangement in ensuring that social distancing is respected. If they do not have the resources to provide PPEs for the many, at least, they can educate the people to stick to some improvised elements of covering the mouth and nose and other important parts of the body.

Sharing of essentials should not be the only exercise for these donors. They should take just minutes to offer education on how these people can stay safe. Such education should be done before the sharing of food and other stuff. They would definitely listen before collecting.

Donors should also employ security when they embark on such exercises to avert any inappropriate behaviours during such exercises.



More education needed

No kidding; most of these people out there are still ignorant on what is happening. They lack the basic understanding of what COVID-19 is all about. They are just going about their normal careless lives without knowing how dangerous the virus is and how devastating it has become.

Such persons need proper education and these privileged personalities can link up with the appropriate health officials to offer such education to these people as they give all these equally important stuff.

How about testing?

We are all for giving to the needy in such times but, can these celebrities also use their influence to support the Ghana Health Services, not only in educating the masses in adhering to the precautionary measures but also assisting the frontline medical personnel in testing the people for the virus?

Testing can go a long way of detecting and curtailing the spread of the virus and these celebrities, in collaboration with the appropriate Authorities, can add it on to these laudable donation exercises.