PART 3: SAR-COV-2 CONTAINMENT RULES STILL RELEVANT – SELF DISCIPLINE NEEDED
BY PROF DOUGLAS BOATENG
The President and Government’s recent decision to lift the partial lockdown is a very bold and carefully calculated balancing strategy. They are certainly not underestimating the power of this elusive and cunning Coronavirus. It is for this reason that virtually all of the partial lockdown restrictions imposed on Ghanaians are still in place coupled with the clarion call by the President for all to;
- be disciplined and continue to strictly adhere to regular hand washing;
- maintain social distancing;
- wear face protection masks (FPM) in public and in especially crowded areas;
- help maintain, for now, the ban on public gatherings (conferences, religious activities, workshops, parties, etc.);
- support tighter boarder surveillance and controls; and
- respect distancing and hygiene rules in relation to passenger transportation (air and road).
In addition, schools shall remain closed, numbers attending funerals are still limited, and market traders are expected to adhere to distancing and alternative trading day rules.
The Government has also promised to release funds to immediately strengthen public healthcare systems and research as well as support aggressive tracing and purposive testing.
The world is still getting to understand the Coronavirus. Therefore a “one size fits all” strategy is certainly not the answer to this pandemic. The good news is that the Government is fully aware of the severe impact of the Coronavirus and the associated lockdown on the majority of the people in our very complex society and especially on those at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid. Data collected will most likely show that women and child abuse, typhoid, malaria, malnutrition, “loss of hand-to-mouth” incomes, depression, etc. are sadly on the increase. To avoid potential unintended consequences, it is a must that these specific restrictions, as rightly pointed out by the President, remain in place.
However, while it is all good and well to instruct people to stay at home and businesses to close their doors, not all countries have the resources to cater for the overall health and economic needs of the population pre- and post-lockdown. Although the Europeans, Chinese and the Americans will “most likely print money” to take care of their people, manage the other health and economic related fall outs as well as revive and bail out selected businesses, the reality is that Ghana is not in a position to do the same. Options available for our beloved country will in all likelihood include to borrow and “beg for Aid” to manage pre- and post-lockdown ramifications. History has taught us that this borrowing and Aid will come with its own set of conditions, restrictions, and implications. To minimise borrowing and dependence on Aid there is the need for more calculated, innovative and local strategies to contain and manage this “cunning and elusive beast.”
In conclusion, the success of the Government’s decision to lift the partial lockdown will depend on each one of us being disciplined, vigilant and continuously playing our respective roles as citizens and not just spectators. Collectively we can contain the spread of the virus, wean our motherland off Aid and eventually become self-sufficient.
May the Almighty continue to bless our beloved Ghana. Please continue to keep hope alive, stay safe and blessed.