Kwame Mfodwo, a Governance Expert has hinted that any plans of imposing a long period of lockdown in the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions may not yield its intended purpose.
He explained this is because adequate measures have not been put in place to minimise the impact of such an action not only on individuals but on social and economic activities.
A lockdown has been forcefully presented by a section of the public and some health professionals as a prudent way of curtailing the fast spread of the Coronavirus, a move government has suggested isn’t a priority at this stage of the fight.
However, Kwame Mfodwo is of the opinion that considering the current rate of spread of the virus, a lockdown looks almost certain to happen but failure to psych the minds of people and put in necessary structures may result in undesired consequences.
Referring to the case of Liberia and Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak some years back, Kwame Mfodwo noted that there were massive protests in reaction to the lockdown because it posed a threat to the survival of many.
According to him, “The interesting thing about Liberia and Sierra Leone is that the government there did a mix of quarantine types. There was in the case of Sierra Leone a whole national lockdown for three days and in the case of Liberia, particular counties were isolated and quarantined. The most important issue was that one of the areas that were quarantined there was a significant riot and social protests” to express their displeasure at the hardship they were going through as a result of the lockdown.
Speaking on Point of View on Citi TV, the international governance expert advocated for a systematic introduction of the lockdown to allow Ghanaians to adapt to it over time to avoid social protests which may increase the spread of the disease.
He proposed some measures which he opined government can rely on the $100 million it has requested from World Bank to help fight the virus to implement.
He advanced, “The government has to work out a way of providing some kind of income support. That is all that I can say because we can’t do 6 weeks or even 8weeks without some kind of income support. Some people survive on a day-day basis.”
“We need an emergency revision of the budget with tailored economic measures that are fit for this particular purpose. But that requires information so we need a quick survey of the hardest-hit segments…”
“We need speedy emergency clearing of all goods and materials at the ports, pharmaceutical manufacturers. It should be a major taskforce approach, you go out there you clear the goods…”
“(There should be) Support measures, minimal lending rates, rollover of loans and overdrafts, minimum daily wage to persons in particular sectors of the economy that are hardest hit, people whose income might have dried up over two or three months need to be identified and (assisted)”
Ghana’s cases on Tuesday shot up to 52 from 27 on Monday after 25 out of 186 persons currently in quarantine tested positive for the virus.
The numbers, according to some health professionals are likely to increase as the results of about 900 persons in quarantine are expected in the coming weeks.
So far, the deaths remain at 2 with no recoveries.