I don't wish to be in Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo-Addo's shoes right now. His excellency is more likely to be in a fix. He's obviously torn between saving the precious life's of the Ghanaian people or saving the already ailing economy and it's varied implications on society.
President Akufo-Addo on March 27 declared a partial lockdown of Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi regions after countless calls from civil society organizations including the Ghana Medical Association. The partial lockdown was to be effective 1 a.m on Monday, March 30, 2020.
The purpose of the lockdown, as gathered in the president's speech was to help curb the spread of COVID-19. As at March 27 when the President delivered his late night COVID-19 speech, Ghana had recorded 137 positive cases and four death.
The declaration of the partial lockdown on Friday, and its implementation on Monday, meant that Ghanaians had a two-day grace period to carry out their normal activities. The two-day grace period saw the exodus of people from the coronavirus hotspot to villages and towns which had no recorded cases. Markets in the epicenters were crowded as people defied the principles of social distancing to buy and hoard foodstuff.
THE PARTIAL LOCKDOWN: CHALLENGES AND EXPECTATIONS IN THE FIRST TWO WEEKS
Monday, March 30, saw the full implementation of the partial lockdown. Officers from the security services were dispatched to the various lockdown areas to ensure strict adherence to the president's directives. Grocery shops and "essential service providers" were given the pass to carry out their normal duties.
The restriction on movement meant that majority of Ghanaians, who fall within the informal sector were to stay home for two weeks (without working). Most private institutions asked their workers to go on mandatory leave with half or no pay.
The number of positive cases kept rising and the reality of a likely extension of the restriction after the two weeks became imminent.
EXTENSION OF PARTIAL LOCKDOWN
His Excellency the President on April 9, 2020, addressed the nation on the COVID-19 development. As at that time, the country had recorded 378 positive cases with six death.
As expected by many, the President extended the partial lockdown in Greater Accra (including Kasoa) and Greater Kumasi for one more week. The purpose of the extension, per the President's speech, was to enhance contact tracing, testing and contain the virus.
As of April 9, the virus had already spread to about 5 regions out of the total 16.
Unlike the first two weeks of the restriction where security officers were alleged to have manhandled civilians, the extension on restriction recorded virtually zero alleged assault. People have been calm and the expectation of a closure of the partial lockdown is high, especially from the informal sector, which has been largely hit.
AKUFO-ADDO TO ADDRESS THE STATE ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF COVID-19: THE DILEMMA AND EXPECTATIONS
Positive cases recorded as of the early morning of Sunday, April 19, are 834. Nine people have died.
The President is expected to address the nation today on his next move in fighting the pandemic. The decision he takes today, will determine our success or otherwise against this fight.
The President has to choose between extending the partial lock down to contain the spread and enhance contact tracing (and testing) or abolish the partial lockdown to allow economic activities to flow.
Share your thoughts with me via the comments section. Should the President extend the lockdown or not?
Alpha Osei Amoako
Freelancer, Inspirational Speaker and Teacher
Email: [email protected]