Various groups and individuals are mounting pressure on the government to lock down the country to help curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus disease.
The Trades Union Congress, Ghana Medical Association, Bureau of Public Safety, among others, have issued statements explaining why they think the country should be locked down.
However, the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has pointed out that a lot of options are available to the government. These include lockdown.
Addressing the media on Tuesday, he said the request for a lockdown is not a decision to be taken lightly.
He, nonetheless, stressed that even if the need to lock down the country arises, that will be decided by the President and the COVID-19 emergency response team who meet the President daily and advise him on the best options at various times.
“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.
Describing the lockdown as a necessary evil, General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr Justice Yankson, in a statement issued yesterday, called on the President “to declare a nationwide lockdown with the exception of essential services with immediate effect.”
According to the GMA, this has become necessary because of the disturbing trend of community spread and the obvious inadequate capacity of Ghana’s health system to deal with increased numbers of COVID-19 infection, especially in the severe to critical cases.
“The lockdown, though not a comfortable decision for leadership and citizens alike, is a proven option backed by science and along with the other measures will ultimately be in our best interest,” the statement read.
To this end, the GMA urged all Ghanaians to support the lockdown, should it be imposed by the President.
More aggressive measures
A statement by the Trades Union Congress, signed by its General Secretary, Dr Yaw Baah, called on the government to adopt “more aggressive measures” to prevent further spread of the virus.
“Mr President, the risk of spread of the virus in Ghana remains high. We need more aggressive measures to protect the people from this deadly virus, including a lockdown, if that is what is needed to protect the people,” Dr Yaw Baah said.
While commending the government for the measures put in place to combat the virus, he appealed to the authorities to equip frontline health officials with the necessary tools.
Accra and Kumasi
In the view of the Bureau of Public Safety, there is the need for “immediate discriminated lockdown” of the Greater Accra and the Ashanti regions.
“With the list of traceable contacts increasing by the day in their hundreds, the task of tracing and effectively monitoring contacts may become overwhelming as confirmed cases increase by the day,” the group said in a statement.
To cushion Ghanaians in the regions that could be affected by a lockdown, it further recommended that “Government immediately works out a social support package for population groups that may be hard hit by these measures.”
“While these actions will definitely have a negative impact on the economy in the immediate to short term, our country and its citizens stand to benefit in the medium to long term as we collectively work to break the chain of COVID-19 infections,” it added.