Communications Officer for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi has commended President Akufo-Addo for heeding to lockdown calls from the Ghana Medical Association, Trade Union Congress and other well-meaning Ghanaians.
According to the astute politician, though the directive came later than advised, it is a good call and will help control the spread of the virus.
President Akufo-Addo on Friday announced a partial lockdown in some hotspots in Ghana namely the Greater Accra Metropolis, the Tema Metropolis, Greater Kumasi Metropolis, and Kasoa in the Central Region to restrict movement of people and prevent the COVID-19 spread.
Speaking on Okay FM on Monday as the lockdown commenced, Sammy Gyamfi noted that despite the good intentions of the Government to stop the spread, giving room for people to evacuate the affected areas into regions which have not recorded cases is unfortunate.
“I am happy that finally, the President has heeded to the advice of GMA, TUC and other well-meaning Ghanaians for a partial lockdown to control the spread of the virus. It would have been much appreciated if it came earlier but there is a saying that better late than never and so for the President listening to these calls, I think he has done something worth commending.”
“But my concern is that we have reached community infection of the infection, previously all the cases were imported cases but now we are at a level where some people in the community have the virus and that is dangerous. That is the unfortunate thing but other than that, the lockdown is welcome news. There are things we can do very well but if the communication is not clear enough, though the idea may be good, the implementation may be a problem. If you are communicating directives and you don’t do so effectively, people will not obey those directives and that is one of my problems,” Sammy Gyamfi indicated.
There was mass evacuation to other parts of the country which were not captured as part lockdown areas on Saturday and Sunday after the President’s directives as many people fled to unrestricted areas across the country.
The government has said this exodus was expected and health professionals have been deployed to carry out tracing and testing in those areas.
However, according to Sammy Gyamfi, the Government could have prevented this evacuation by giving not more than a 24-hour window for preparation for the lockdown.
“Why did the President announce a lockdown in these areas and did not include that it will not be allowed for people to move from Accra to Central Region or to other Regions where the lockdowns have not affected
“The truth is that if Government knew they could not have prevented people from moving to other regions, they should have announced the lockdown on Sunday if the lockdown was to take effect on Monday to restrict the number of people who moved out of the locked-down areas.”
“If we wanted to give an advance notice for people to prepare for food, banking transactions and others, it’s good but they should have indicated that nobody can move out of their region to any other region, if it happened that way, everyone would have stayed in their region,” he noted.
Expressing worry over the possibility of the disease travelling to other regions, Sammy Gyamfi advised that Government can encourage residents of these areas which have seen many people trouping in over the past 48-hours to report such persons for testing and self-isolating.
“Currently, you don’t know who has the disease and even doctors are saying people with the disease are not showing symptoms so if any of those people are part of those who travelled is it not the virus they are spreading? In that regard, the Government erred but it’s not too late, right now we are more focused on the solution
“What government can do is to urge all residents of areas exempted from lockdown areas should report persons who have come into their regions so that can self-isolate and get tested. When DCEs are informed, they will get health authorities involved and they can check to make sure that the virus does not spread,” Sammy Gyamfi added.