NEWS COMMENTARY CAUTIONS GHANAIANS TO OBSERVE THE MANDATORY COVID-19 PROTOCOLS TO AVOID BEING HIT BY A SECOND WAVE OF INFECTIONS AS HAPPENING IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD.
There has been a blatant disregard to COVID-19 protocols, which includes the wearing of nose masks, observing social distancing, and regular hand washing. Many Ghanaians are ignoring the protocols because they think the virus is no more, others say the number of confirmed cases are not high compared to other countries, so there is no cause for alarm.
A survey conducted on the use of infrared thermometers, wearing of nose masks, washing of hands and social distancing by the Health Promotion Division of the Ghana Health Service showed that adherence to safety and preventive protocols only existed at formal workplaces, but not within the communities, funerals grounds, weddings ceremonies, transport terminals and marketplaces where people are mostly crowded.
Suffice it to say that Ghana has seen an increase in COVID-19 deaths, and the number of active cases has also increased recently to more than 300. We must be reminded that COVID-19 has not left us entirely as it has caused countries like the UK, India, Czech Republic, France, Spain and many European countries to go back to partial lockdowns with others tightening their restrictions because of a second spike in infection rate.
Some political actors and their sympathizers mass up across the country in defiance of the COVID-19 protocols. It is in this vein that STRANEK-Africa has called on political parties to publish their COVID-19 campaign guidelines. The organization suggests that the COVID-19 campaign guidelines should contain how the country can avoid or reduce the risk of crowding during their activities.
In as much as Ghanaians are going to vote to decide which political party deserves the mandate to steer affairs of this country, the call for the publication of the COVID-19 campaign guidelines is in the right direction. Not long ago, the Ghana Health Service cautioned that although the country is doing well in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, it is not out of the woods yet.
Ghana opened the Kotoka International Airport to international travel in the first week of September 2020. Measures were put in place to prevent infected people from entering the country including the provision of on-the-spot testing on arrival at the cost of 150 dollars. Here, some persons have raised concerns. The Bureau of Public Safety says it finds government’s decision to be a violation of International Health Regulations. The Minority in Parliament has queried government’s motivation to charge the mandatory Covid-19 test, saying it is too expensive. The question here is, are the lives of Ghanaians not precious than the debate about the cost of test and the disregard for the safety protocols? President Akufo Addo has cautioned against complacency in the fight against COVID-19, saying despite the low number of active cases recorded in Ghana, Ghanaians need to err on the side of caution.
As a country we cannot easily do away with these measures, since there is a second wave of the virus in other parts of the world and this calls for caution, as the virus remain a mystery. As the country heads to the polls in December, political parties must tell Ghanaians their COVID-19 campaign guidelines and ensure their followers adhere to the protocols. As the campaigning heats up, let us remember to wear our face masks to remain save from COVID-19. Coronavirus is real. And as President Akufo Addo indicated the target is a zero active case target.
The Script was by Hannah Dadzie, a Journalist.