As of 22 March 2020, 14:00 Hr a total of 315 suspected cases have been tested for COVID-19 by Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR). Twenty-four (24) of these have been confirmed at the laboratory as COVID-19. Twenty-three of the confirmed cases are receiving treatment in isolation and one (1) of the cases who had underlying chronic pulmonary condition prior to having COVID-19 has died (myjoyonline).
This is the fact of the situation in Ghana. The president in his address to the nation assured Ghanaians that the government is doing all in her power to make sure Ghanaians are safe.
To that effect all public gatherings, including conferences, workshops, funerals, festivals, political rallies, sporting events and religious activities, such as services in churches and mosques, have been suspended for the next four (4) weeks. All Universities, Senior High Schools, and basic schools, i.e. public and private schools, have been closed till further notice. In addition, all points of entry into the country either by land, air or sea have also been closed to human traffic.
These and many others are the measures that have been put in place to contain the spread of the virus.
It is not surprising that some Ghanaians are still ignorant of the Covid-19 situation. This is the time in which public education is key. Others know there is some virus whose name they can’t even pronounce. They have no idea what it is or how it is transmitted. Education about the Covid-19 virus, its mode of transmission and ways one can protect him/herself is vital in the fight against the virus. Effective public education should be made in all major local dialects so that all and sundry will get the message and understand.
Most Ghanaians depend on the media for information. Others who have little or no formal education depend on some learned individuals for explanations to happenings. There is a lot of misinformation out there. This has led to a lot of misconceptions and wrong perceptions. In explaining the facts of the matter, it should be done without inciting fear and panic.
As a nation, we believe God is in control. 25th March, 2020 has been declared by the President as a National day of prayer and fasting. We believe in prayer. This is the time we have to call on our God to heal our land. He is our shelter in a time of storm. I entreat all, to go on their knees in prayer for prayer changes things. 2 Chronicles 7:14 Says, “if My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves, and pray and seek (crave, require as a necessity) My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear [them] from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.
This notwithstanding, at the individual level, we should still observe the necessary precautions and social distancing measures. We should be careful and do away with every carefree attitude. Our survival is in our own hands. Always use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. Wash hands regularly with soap under running water.Avoid shaking of hands. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Eat well and get enough sleep.
These are not normal times. We should avoid politicising the issues. This fight against Covid-19 is not an NPP, NDC or any other political party matter. We should come together as a people, put aside our political affiliations and fight as one. Pharmacies, supermarkets, retailers and vendors should avoid raising prices of some essential items needed to protect ourselves, especially hand sanitizers. They should in these times, focus on making these essential items easily obtainable at reasonable prices, rather than profits.
All hope is not lost. We will stand victorious when it is all over. Our survival is in our own hands. Let us all be each others keeper and be careful.
Spread calm, not panic.
Frimpong Mansoh Cobbina
GBC Radio Central