Health Economist at the University of Ghana Business School, Dr. Gordon Abekah Nkrumah has advised against the lifting of the Covid-19 restrictions without a critical assessment of the impact the move will have on the medico-socio-economic activities in the country.
He argues that any attempt to relax the embargoes should be properly thought through devoid of any political expediency.
The public gathering advisories were first put in place on March 15, 2020, when Ghana had six cases of the virus.
All international border crossings were also closed. In the President's May 11 address to the nation, he extended the ban on gatherings to May 31.
Speaking on The Big Issue on Citi FM/Citi FM today, Saturday, Dr. Abekah cautioned that Ghana has not been able to deal effectively with the pandemic hence efforts must be made to prevent putting more lives at risk.
“People are anticipating that someway somehow, the restrictions are going to be lifted. Over the week, if you look at the confirmation by the policymakers, they are preparing our minds that we are going to lift the restrictions. But how do we do this lifting in such a way that there is optimality so we do not suffer much? They need to balance the social-economic burden because the restrictions pose an economic burden because people are going to react and when they react it is also going to have implications on their political fortunes. So how do we decide which one to lift or not. Basically, we have to look at the restriction we have imposed and how do they impact people. We ought to be quite cautious and not think that we are out of the woods yet. That is important because things are not perfect,” he advised.
There is an increasing expectation that President Nana Akufo-Addo will ease the restrictions on public gatherings this weekend.
Significant indicators have pointed to the fact that there will be a clear plan for the easing of the restrictions.
President Akufo-Addo, while addressing the nation at the 2020 Virtual Eid-ul-Fitr Celebration on May 24 said the state will conclude a roadmap for easing restrictions by the end of the week so he “can announce to Ghanaians a clear roadmap for easing the restrictions.”
“We have to find a way back, but in safety, for we cannot be under these restrictions forever,” he said.
Aside from the President, the Senior Minister earlier revealed that there would be a stakeholder meeting on Friday ahead of President Akufo-Addo's tenth address to the nation on the government' handling of the pandemic on Sunday.
Indications from Mr. Osafo-Maafo are that there is a roadmap being finalised that will be presented to stakeholders.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Flagbearer, John Mahama is also expecting a significant easing of restrictions and has called on the government to first conduct more widespread testing.
“…In the face of the imminent easing of restrictions, let me repeat the call on the government to consider conducting mass testing, at least, at the point of need,” Mr. Mahama said in a tweet .