Citizens for Change and Accountable Governance (CCAG) and the United Press for Development Network (UPDN) have expressed utter pessimism towards the purpose, the partial lockdown imposed by government is intended to achieve.
According to the institutions, the restrictions would rather aggravate the current COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country instead of mitigating it.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a drastic move last Friday announced a 14-day lockdown in parts of the country as part of reviewed measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The areas affected include Greater Accra, Greater Kumasi, Tema and Kasoa which have been identified as hotspots of the novel coronavirus.
The President, however, offered a 48-hour grace period for the restrictions to take effect.
Upon hearing the announcement of the lockdown, there was a mad rush for food and other essentials by people living in the affected areas which caused overcrowding in the various markets, a situation the lockdown is seeking to avoid.
Additionally, it emerged that several hundreds of people in the affected areas, out of apprehension and in a bid to escape the lockdown, fled to other parts of the country which were not affected by the restrictions
On the back of these two major scenes created by the Presidents announcement, the CCAG and UPDN have had cause to predict an explosive outbreak of the pandemic.
In a joint statement released by two institutions, they expressed the view that the lockdown should have taken immediate effect and not allow people to take the actions they did.
“Fellow Ghanaians, we pray it is otherwise but the truth is, the virus is not waiting for anyone and by our estimation, it is (the virus) overwhelmingly among citizens considering the map of the GHS, MoH, and MoI, contact tracing and if further stringent and rigorous measures are not taking ON TIME, Ghana is on the verge of becoming Africa’s Italy in this COVID-19 battle.”
“This weekend (especially Saturday) our field observers reported a massive turn-up and overcrowding at various market places including Madina, Agormanya, Kejetia, Accra Centrals and this is enough to underscore that, COVID-19 is in all the 16 regions of Ghana and with time it will manifest,” the statement said.
They expressed disappointment in the way the lockdown was carried out adding CCAG/UPDN was not only campaigning, advocating and anticipating a total nationwide lockdown but that which takes effect immediately after the address.
The groups, however, commended the directives by the President since the disease hit the nation, which measures include the amnesty given to some 800 inmates.
“Our love and appreciation goes to the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Information, Ghana Health Service, Noguchi Memorial Research Institute, Kumasi Center for Commemorative Research (KCCR), all Health Facilities, Research and Testing Centers and Front liners for their dedicated and sacrificial work,” they said.
“The insurance benefit and allowance for front line workers as announced by the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu on Sunday, March 29, 2020, at the Ministry of Information COVID-19 briefing is a valuable and spirited addition,” the statement added.