Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah says government currently has a number of options on the table including proposals for a lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.
Many have called for a lockdown of the country to avoid further community spread of COVID-19.
While some say a total lockdown of the country must be applied, others believe areas such as Tema, Ashanti the Greater Accra Regions which have recorded cases of COVID-19, be locked down to prevent the spread of the disease to other parts of the country.
But Kojo Oppong Nkrumah at a media briefing on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, said the request for a lockdown is not a decision to be taken lightly.
“There is a lot of talk, agitation [on] lockdown because we are seeing it on TV. Different jurisdictions have different dynamics…The decision to lock down or not is one that is not taken lightly.”
He said a team of experts acting as part of the COVID-19 emergency response team meet with President Akufo-Addo daily and advise him on the best options at various times.
He added that should the experts give such advice, it will be interrogated.
“The experts continue to provide advice to the decision-makers. The President sits down 6 pm every evening with the COVID-19 response team made up of experts from all over. If they give that advice, it is subject to interrogation. He [President Akufo-Addo] doesn't take that advice lightly. All options are on the table but at this stage, the advice and the consideration are to go in accordance with the measures that we have gone with and it is bearing fruits,” Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said.
“At this point in time, there is no decision to lockdown, all options remain on the table. The President has indicated that if at any time he has to escalate his measures, he will do it,” he added.
Groups such as the Bureau of Public Safety, Trades Union Congress and the Ghana Medical Association have called for lockdown as part of measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Former Health Minister and Wa West MP, Joseph Yieleh Chireh in a Citi News interview said the government must lockdown Accra, Kumasi and put the necessary systems in place before the coronavirus situation in the country gets out of hand.
“My candid view about lockdown is that it is getting too late and when you allow the situation to alarm everybody, the lockdown will be difficult to do. Indeed if you look at it, we have to explain in detail what the directives the President has given mean and what the implications are but the lockdown can only be in respect of the big cities.”