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Opinions of Monday, 20 April 2020

Columnist: Yaw Obo Kwahu

Ghana lifts coronavirus lockdown; a case of dilemma

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There has been a mixed reaction in Ghana after a three-week lockdown which had been imposed on several areas of the country was eased.

Some say Ghana's President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has taken a risky move, noting that the country has confirmed more than 1,000 known cases of coronavirus.

However, low-income earners such as street traders, have welcomed the lifting of the restrictions - they would have found it difficult to feed their families if it had continued.

But in recent days some health experts have been calling for the lockdown to be extended and even widened across the country.

However, Ghana has lifted the coronavirus lockdown in its two biggest cities, Accra and Kumasi starting 1 AM local time on Monday Apr. 20. A lockdown of the two worst affected metropolitan areas had been in place since Mar. 30, 2020.

This makes Ghana, the first country in Africa to ease its lockdown at a time others such as Zimbabwe and Nigeria have extended theirs.

Non-essential businesses will now be allowed to open while the wearing of masks is encouraged. But there are still bans on large gatherings and schools will remain closed.

There is a popular opinion that says the president was overwhelmed with a lot of issues...huge economic burden, human survival and this deadly pandemic. He had to choose one of the above.

Initially, he took the bold step in initiating the partial lock down.

Due to the burden on majority of the populace who work in the informal sector, he decided to give some relief to his people e.g. free water, halving the electricity bill and providing free food to his countrymen.

He however saw that his country was losing so much in terms of economic benefit while complying with this lockdown.

Truth be told, majority of the country populace were hungry (80%) with the remaining (20%) facing a lot of physiological trauma such as loneliness, pressure, anxiety among others.

The incidence of the pandemic was also rising amidst certain levels of control instituted. To worsen the case his country has less facilities to cater for more people if they are sick.

"Fellow Ghanaians, I am lifting the ban on the partial lockdown but with certain level of precautionary measures"- said the President

By banking on its testing and isolation capacity, the government has placed its confidence in the public’s adherence to social distancing and hygiene protocols to ride out the coronavirus storm.

But are his populace responsible enough to obey these precautionary measures——big no

Is the president prepared to instill some discipline in them through the use of appropriate mechanisms such as the law enforcement agencies? We await answers to these questions!

Are we a-bit confused!!!!

My earnest opinion