Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has described as an expected risk, the movement of people from areas earmarked for lockdown to other jurisdictions.
At 1 am on Monday, March 30 2020, the impositions of restrictions order which enforces a partial lockdown in the Greater Accra, Greater Kumasi and their environs, as well as Kasoa in the Central Region will take effect and in an attempt not to get stuck in these earmarked areas, some Ghanaians have within the past 24hours moved to other regions across the country.
The evacuation has caused many to worry about the possible transmission of the COVID-19 cases to the non-earmarked areas should there be an infection but information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah speaking on JoyNews has indicated that Government prepared for this.
According to him, there are people who might have travelled to the restricted areas before the President’s announcement on Friday, March 27, and it is reasonable to give room for those people to travel back.
He noted, however, that enhanced community tracing and testing will be implemented in these new areas where people have evacuated to allow health officials to detect and isolate any case of the pandemic.
“In all the restrictions and the decisions that have been made you have to strike a good balance. You don’t have to overreact and you don’t have to underreact. The question becomes as you are going to impose restrictions, are you going to give people room to prepare themselves for it and if you give room for people to prepare themselves, what are the risk elements?
“The risk elements are the fact that some persons would have left the Greater Accra Region but it’s a calculated risk. It’s a calculated risk because there are also other persons who have come into the region before you announced the restrictions who you cannot lock up there and then, you probably have to give an opportunity for them also to leave. The teams that are responsible for tracing and testing are not just limited to Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi.
“They are also in the other Regions. Police, Public Health and epidemiologists, etc, have been designated with the right kits outside these Regions so that they will primarily be able to do the contact tracing and then if you have some active surveillance in the neighbourhoods, we will also be able to do some tracing because for where we are now, it’s test, test and test,” Mr Oppong Nkrumah stated.
For now, the only option open to government to mass detect COVID-19 cases is to test and keep testing, according to the Ofoase Ayirebi Legislator.
He, therefore, urged all residents in communities where people have evacuated to over the past 24 hours to report any such person who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms to the nearest health facilities to ensure the protection of the larger community.
”If we have a million test kits, we will test a million people, that shows we can go after the virus and not wait for people to show up. For people in communities where people have moved in in the last 24 hours, we continue to mention to you that do not forget about the principles of social distancing, at least one meter apart, especially for these persons who have come from the Greater Accra or the Greater Kumasi jurisdictions. Secondly, we need to ensure that in every one of these communities, we have a chps compound there and we need to provide information so that we all assist in,” he said.