07.04.2020 Opinion

Ghana Coronavirus Update: Are We Really Doing Enough?

By Nico van staalduinen
Ghana Coronavirus Update: Are We Really Doing Enough?
LISTEN APR 7, 2020

I said it before: I am not a doctor; all I do is observe, read and calculate about COVID19, or as most people still call it Corona Virus.

Around the world there are enough examples by now what the right, and what the wrong approach is.

Exemplary are South Korea and Germany and the worst examples so far are Italy, Spain, UK and USA.

More important to all of us is: How is Ghana doing ?

My opinion and article is based upon observations of the last few days and information as given through our daily briefing of the Minister of Information and others.

First of all: I am not surprised about the big jump in cases today!

Last weekend I noted that there was hardly information on Sunday and Monday, just like this week.

Apparently most people involved in monitoring think that the Corona Virus is also having 2 days off during the weekend. To all involved, coronavirus doesn’t sleep nor rests.

We need to be alerted and updated during the weekend as well, a large part of solving this crisis is correct and updated information on the behavior of the virus and how spreads.

You can't be accurate if we have to guess how many cases developed on Saturday or Sunday.

Since Friday night until Monday afternoon there were 73 new cases, but it was 30 on Saturday and 43 on Sunday or 63 on Saturday and only 10 on Sunday ? That's significant information because one shows an up going curve showing that we are heading towards our peak.

Whilst the other can be a first sign of flattening the curve.

The jump in cases, 73 since the last briefing is the largest we have seen so far.

What amazes me is the jump of 19 cases of people during quarantine.

Explanations that it might not have shown yet when they were quarantined and tested when put in quarantine are not satisfying me.

My suspicion is that the quarantine was no done properly.

Either quarantined people have been in direct contact with infected relatives or hotel staff have done some of them “favors” (probably for a few Cedis) to bring belongings etc. to other quarantined people.

But remember, Covid19 can sometimes survive on plastic and other hard materials for several days.

Also alarming is the fact that these hotel workers probably go home to infect others, people who think they have never been in contact with people who travelled.

Two other serious matters worry me.
First employed security service staff at barriers are becoming more lenient.

Last Sunday T.T.Quarshi stopped so many people that the traffic jam looked like an ordinary weekday.

That's good you might think.
But I didn't see anybody being returned or refused to continue because suddenly all must have gone for food and water, even if just visiting mom and dad (the ones you should rather stay away from during this crisis).

I posted a few days ago that I past several barriers were all cars could drive through because it was raining and all service staff at the barriers were hiding to avoid getting wet!

Coronavirus doesn’t hide when it’s raining.

I also noticed at a barrier on Spintex road that 3 police officers, obviously tired and hungry from doing their job, were all 3 at the same time enjoying their lunch. Once again nobody checking at the barrier.

I don't mean to insult, hurt or otherwise want to do the security services any harm, they are doing a great job during this challenging times, but they need to be informed that leaving your post can costs lives!

Coronavirus never gets hungry and waits to spread.
I don't mean to insult, hurt or otherwise want to do the security services any harm, they are doing a great job during this challenging times, but they need to be informed that leaving your post can costs lives!

Buying food and water:
I see completely unprotected street vendors selling water and food on the roadside.

People buy water sachets or bottles from them.
Just imagine if one of them is infected and handing over the water to you, what do you do?

You put the virus straight in your mouth so it can starts spreading.

Don't get me wrong, I buy water, eggs, inkaticake, agbeliklako and many other delicacies regularly on our street and in traffic jams. But not today!

Coronavirus doesn’t think about street-sellers’ lack of income.

Buying at supermarkets is a complete different story.

They mostly observe the rules: hand washing and hand sanitizers are made available.

Social distancing is announced or marked on the floor.

Some supermarkets rightly so swipe the handles of the shopping carts regularly; others don't (big mistake).

But they also have their flows: Almost none of them instructs and insist his staff enough on social distancing. All of them still allow their staff to pack your shopping in a plastic bag for you.

My wife and I are telling them not to do that! Is there even one supermarket cleaning all goods on the shelves ?

Is there one supermarket checking if people don't touch the parked cars? Because the virus can stay alive for 48 hours on metal!

Does any supermarket tell clients regularly not to come too close to other clients and staff? (Most have a sound system so it shouldn't be that difficult).

Coronavirus is affecting everyone and can affect employees.

The government should pay more attention to make clear that, currently not on lockdown regions and areas can also get affected by the Corona Virus.

I live just outside Accra in the Eastern Region and people (especially the youth) behave like all these measures are not for them because their town or village is not on lockdown.

Coronavirus does not respect regional or other barriers.

The Government needs to get the message through to lower educated and poor areas in local languages through local TV and radio stations possibly through their pastors or musicians appealing to them.

Coronavirus does not discriminate between the rich or poor.

WHO and other sources estimate that the number of coronavirus cases will rise as high as 1.5 milliion people.

So far our death rate is “only” 1.7% but what will happen with such an explosion?

We do not even have enough face masks so what about intensive care units and ventilators, things that are even in shortage in the most developed economies.

Ghanaians are strong people, resistant and have adapted to many diseases others could not cope with.

Healthy people are sometimes not even affected at all, but just read my following personal message:

I am not a doctor nor health official but I advise if you don't take all measures put in place serious for yourself do it for your sick, brother, sister, aunty, uncle or old parents and grandparents because they will probably not survive the Corona Virus you will be passing to them.

The writer, Nico van Staalduinen, is a concerned Ghanaian Resident.

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