Lifting of ban: What influenced Akufo-Addo’s decision
In what came as a surprise to many Ghanaians, President Akufo-Addo in his seventh address to the nation on measures put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 announced an end to a three-week partial lockdown imposed on some parts of the country.
According to the President, the decision was influenced by several factors including Ghana’s ability to undertake aggressive contact tracing, an enhanced capacity to test, expansion of the number of treatment and isolation centres as well as the impact of the virus on the poor and vulnerable in the affected areas.
He said, “Fellow Ghanaians, in view of our ability to undertake aggressive contact tracing of infected persons, the enhancement of our capacity to test, the expansion in the numbers of our treatment and isolation centres, our better understanding of the dynamism of the virus, the ramping up of our domestic capacity to produce our own personal protective equipment, sanitisers and medicines, the modest successes chalked at containing the spread of the virus in Accra and Kumasi, and the severe impact on the poor and vulnerable, I have taken the decision to lift the three (3) week old restriction on movements in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area and Kasoa, and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area and its contiguous districts, with effect from 1am on Monday, 20th April. In effect, tomorrow will see the partial lockdown in Accra and Kumasi being lifted.”
The President indicated that, the suspension of the partial lockdown was not to mean the government was letting its guard down in the fight.
He emphasised that other measures including the suspension of public gatherings remain in place.
“I must make it clear, at the outset, that lifting these restrictions does not mean we are letting our guard down. All other measures are still firmly in place. For the avoidance of doubt, the earlier measures announced on Wednesday, 15th March, which have been extended, are still very much in force, and have not been relaxed. I am demanding even greater adherence to these measures.
“In here, I am referring to the suspension of all public gatherings, including conferences, workshops, funerals, parties, nightclubs, drinking spots, beaches, festivals, political rallies, religious activities and sporting events. All educational facilities, private and public, are to remain closed. Businesses and other workplaces can continue to operate, observing staff management and workplace protocols with the view to achieving social distancing and hygiene protocols,” he said.
Akufo-Addo noted that despite the lifting of the ban, Ghana’s borders will remain closed