The coronavirus is a new pandemic that all world leaders are trying to contain. It has far-reaching impacts on all aspects of life, but the most significant ones are on health and economy. There are universally adhered to measures to help curb the spread. It is also commendable for countries to put in place measures that best serve their citizens and circumstances.
The Ghanaian President recently did not extend the lockdown whilst other countries like Nigeria and Zimbabwe extended their national lockdowns. The government decided to open two key regions in Ghana around Accra and Kumasi. This has been met with strong criticism because of the mayhem that is being caused by the Covid19 pandemic. Uplifting the lockdown will mean more human movement which means people have a higher possibility of contracting the virus and spreading it. However,
the President highlighted the need to end the lockdown because it has left the poor people exposed to hunger. Ghana has ramped up coronavirus testing and tracking of active covid19 cases. During the lockdown, the government noticed ways in which they could fight the virus and stay wary of other prevalent problems that affect their citizens. The World Food Program (WFP) noted in 2016 that 27.4% of Africa is affected by food insecurity and millions die of hunger and malnutrition annually. This brings into perspective that with or without the coronavirus outbreak people in Africa have an ever-lurking threat of hunger.
The decision taken by the government of Ghana was a hard one because either decision left the citizens exposed to either coronavirus or starvation. The government in this instance chose to try mitigating coronavirus spread and protect the people from hunger. A lot has been done by the government of Ghana to assist its citizens ever since the commencement of the lockdown. The government increased healthcare workers’ salaries, launched an application to trace coronavirus patients, began producing face masks, scrubs, hospital gowns and headgear, they also provided free electricity, water, and food to their vulnerable citizens. The government might have assessed that they could not sustain the free food aid thus the decision to allow certain economic areas to be opened.
The upliftment of the lockdown does not mean an end to some regulations. Some lockdown regulations are still firmly in place including social distancing, closure of schools and borders, and the prohibition of gatherings. Ghana is taking all the necessary precautions to reopen its economy. The country is second to have conducted the highest coronavirus tests in Africa. The country has rolled out a diligent tracing of active cases and has implemented the use of drones to transport blood samples for testing.
Nonetheless, lockdowns are commendable but they may need to be adjusted to ensure they fit into a certain society. Most African countries have international debts and ailing economies. Their economies are largely reliant on the informal sector. Mimicking lockdowns of first world countries that are not exposed to certain problems that face the African continent will render the whole aim of locking down useless. The lockdowns are implemented to save lives and curb the spread, but without requisite safety nets for the vulnerable people can still die of hunger.
The decision by the government might be criticized but it is admirable. It shows leadership that is aware of the problems of its citizens and will not merely imitate preventative measures but tailors them to suit their circumstances.
There is a high risk that the upliftment of the lockdown will see an upsurge in the number of cases in Ghana. Hopefully, the preventative measures put in place will assist curb the spread. More African countries should assess the sustainability of lockdowns and try partial open of the economy that can gainfully operate with low risk.