Halting spread of COVID 19: Stay-at-home measures begin

The stay-at-home measure announced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last Friday to ensure restricted movement by people has officially commenced.


At 1 a.m. today, policemen, soldiers and personnel of the Ghana Immigration Service, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, the Bureau of National Investigations and allied services were deployed to many areas in Accra and Kumasi and adjoining areas to ensure that the President’s directives were carried through.

A police enforcement strategy released by the Director of Police Public Affairs, Supt Mrs Sheilla Kessie Abayie-Buckman, said the entire police population of over 35,000 had been mobilised as part of the frontline officers for the period to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19.

“These include all general duty officers, specialised units and professionals performing various tasks and in different shifts, depending on several informed factors. The deployment of the rank and file of the Police Service is personally led by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr James Oppong-Boanuh,” the strategy said.

Panic buying

Ahead of the implementation of the restriction on human movement, the weekend saw a mad rush for food and other essential items by the citizenry, as the time for the partial restriction to take effect approached.

On Saturday and Sunday, both Accra and Kumasi were choked with human and vehicular traffic. The markets were full, as people bought items to stock up for the 14 days.

Gas filling stations witnessed long queues, although the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) had issued a statement that there would be no shortage of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) within the 14 days.

Many people thronged the lorry terminals in their bid to head to areas not covered by the restrictions.

A young man who gave his name as Eugene said he worked in Accra, while his family was in Takoradi, and since he was going to be home for the next 14 days, the best thing to do was to join his family.

Roadblocks

The police said enforcement of the directive would be carried out to the fullest, and that barriers had been mounted at various locations within Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi to ensure orderliness and compliance with the directive.

“As part of efforts to enforce compliance with the Presidential order for people in Ghana to stay at home, especially at the ‘hotspots’ of the infections, some roads shall have no thoroughfare. Supported by the Ghana Armed Forces, roads leading to and out of Greater Accra, Greater Kumasi, Tema and Kasoa to other areas have been closed with roadblocks from today, 30th March, 2020 until midnight of 13th April, 2020,” the police said.

In Greater Accra, the roadblocks are at the Weija tollbooth, the Ayi Mensah tollbooth, the Mensah Bar tollbooth at Oyibi, and the Oyibi to Appolonia–Kubekrom–Ashaiman–New Jerusalem road.

For Greater Kumasi, the roadblocks are in Ejisu on the Accra road, Abuakwa on the Sunyani, Nkawie and Bibiani road, Suame on the Abrepo-Barekese road, Offinso on the Techiman road, Tafo Pankrono on the Mampong road, Asokwa and Kuntenase on the roads to Bekwai and Ejisu.

In Tema. the roadblocks are located at the Asutuare Junction barrier on the Akosombo road, the Tsopoli barrier on the Aflao road and on the Ashaiman–Santeo and Ashaiman–Appolonia roads.

With regard to Kasoa, the roadblocks are at Adam Nana, New Station Traffic Light, Oklu Nkwanta, Akwele, 1st Traffic Light, Estate Junction, Crispo City, Las Vegas, CP Junction, Pink FM, Kakraba Junction 13 and Walatu Junction.

Similarly, the Kasoa-Winneba route and alternative roads in Awutu Senya East which lead to towns outside Kasoa have been closed.

In addition, the police said all other routes leading to destinations outside the hotspots, whether on foot, by road or sea have been blocked.

Snap checks

According to the police, snap checks would randomly be carried out.

“They are similar to roadblocks, but unlike blocking total access on the routes, these snap checks will allow limited access. They will also enable the security agencies to respond rapidly to situations closer to the areas of operation.

“This means that there shall be no hawking, no loitering, no waiting, no idleness, no public preaching and no public recreational activity or gathering of any form, including neighbourhood football, basketball, tennis, draught and all other games and sports outside of one’s home,” they said.

‘Stay at home’

People are being encouraged to stay at home during the period.

“Any person found outside of ‘home’ will have to justify why he or she is moving outside of ‘home’, and the reason must fall under one of two categories of exemptions granted by the President — either the person falls within the services exempted from the restrictions or is out to get essential items such as food, medicine and water or undertake bank transactions or use public toilet facilities, in which case the person will be assisted by security personnels to do so and return home promptly,” the police said.

Only those who have been categorised as essential workers or essential service providers are excluded from the restrictions and will be allowed to work from today.

They include members of the security agencies, the media, health service providers, members of the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature, people in the food value chain and the pharmaceutical sector, sanitation workers, mining workers and staff of VALCO.

Others are road and railway construction workers, fisher folk, staff of the ECG, the GWCL, telecommunication companies, e-commerce and digital service providers, staff of fuel stations and banks.

Identified threats

The police said they had “identified several possible agitations and adverse reactions against the imposition of restrictions as threats”.

Among them are the public misunderstanding of the imposition of restrictions, the likelihood of criminal elements taking advantage of the period to loot businesses and the possibility of some individuals disregarding the law.

“Therefore, to complement the efforts of the Ministry of Information, the National Commission for Civic Education and other agencies, the Police Administration has channelled its public education efforts to educate the public on safety in this era of the coronavirus spread,” it said.

Source: Graphic Online