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09.05.2020 Feature Article

Poor Adherence To Social Distancing Rules: The Case Of Greater Accra

Poor Adherence To Social Distancing Rules: The Case Of Greater Accra
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The war without ammunitions and guns has brought to the fore the need to adhere to precautionary measures. One of the measures being implemented across the globe is practising social distancing. Social distancing can be explained as avoiding close contact with people in order to prevent the spread of an infection or disease. Contextually, it relates to avoiding contact with people to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The president of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo Addo currently called "Fellow Ghanaians" or "Show Boy" lifted the partial lockdown which was placed on Greater Accra and Kumasi. The lifting of the ban was to allow people to return to their usual activities and businesses with the exception of the ban on social gathering, church and schools still in force.

This little piece attempts to critique the poor adherence to the practising of social distancing in some parts of Greater Accra especially the business centres: Kantamanto, Agbogloshie and Makola.

Well having stayed indoors during the partial lockdown period and afterwards, I decided to take a stroll and observe the attitude of Ghanaians in observing the social distancing measures.

To start with, I boarded a commercial vehicle popularly known as "trotro" from Kwabenya, my place of residence to "Kwame Nkrumah Circle", one of the household areas in Greater Accra. With reference to commercial vehicles, there is a directive for them to reduce the number of passengers.

To my uttermost surprise, the vehicle I sat in had more than the prescribed number. At "Dome" another known town in Accra, a policeman stopped the vehicle and as usual, the policeman spoke to the driver in a way I think he should have done better. Interestingly, no coloured paper was placed in another book. One thing which drew my attention was the fact that there is another directive that wearing of "nose mask" is compulsory. The police officer had taken off his nose mask and placed it in his pocket but could put it on after talking to the driver.

In the hub of Greater Accra: Kantamanto, Agbogloshie and Makola, it appears most Ghanaians are unaware of this global pandemic. People have actively returned to their businesses as old as you can think of it. So, I questioned, has the virus disappeared from Ghana or there is nothing like coronavirus? In a news broadcast by Citi TV, two women vehemently disbelieved and disagreed with the existence of the war being handled by health professionals. After watching the video, I commented that the provision of "Free SHS" is not enough. We need to provide free education in all forms to both the young and the aged as possible as we can. It is the main solution by which we can enlighten greater number of our population for the next 100 years. To continue with the poor adherence to social distancing in Kantamanto, Agbogloshie and Makola, people were busily engaged. Our market women, as usual, were selling on pavements along the way, chatting and giving customers and would-be buyers a rousing welcome. I could not measure the proximity but in fact, the traders and sellers were very close and I can say largely that the practising of social distancing is not taking seriously by most of the people in these areas. In addition, few of the buyers and sellers had their nose mask on.

Considering how people are crowding in our market centres, in a way I concur with Sofo Kyiri Abosom who argues that the ban on social gathering and church should be lifted. The problem I have with him is that we are still managing the situation and at this critical moment, the human life is the topmost priority.

One strange thing was the revamping of refuse in these places. During the partial lockdown, these places were disinfected massive clean up exercises were undertaken in these areas. I don't intend to insult either to cause a deficit on the integrity of Ghanaians. But I can see that we like to live in dirt. Please, the virus war is real, let's stick to the social distancing measures, stop the spread and save lives.

"#A citizen, not a spectator#
Gideon Asante
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Gideon Asante
Gideon Asante, © 2020

The author has 5 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: GideonAsante

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