According to President Nana Akuffo Addo, prevailing circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic mean that stricter measures have to be put in place to contain and halt the spread of the virus within our country, especially in Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Kumasi, which have been identified by the Ghana Health Service as the “hotspots” of the infections.
He said: “In doing this, we cannot afford to copy blindly, and do all the things some other well-developed countries are doing. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this pandemic. We have a unique situation in our country, and we must take it into account in dealing with the disease, whilst meeting all the six (6) key WHO guidelines on the most effective ways of combating the pandemic. Even though it may be said that the number of our infections is still, relatively, low, if we act now purposefully, we have a chance of preventing an escalation of our numbers.”
So, effective 1am on Monday, 30th March, Nana Addo has imposed, pursuant to the powers granted the President of the Republic, under the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012), restrictions on movement of persons in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA, which includes Awutu Senya East), and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area and contiguous districts, for a period of two (2) weeks, subject to review.
“It will give us the opportunity to try to halt the spread of the virus, and scale-up effectively contact tracing of persons who have come into contact with infected persons, test them for the virus, and, if necessary, quarantine and isolate them for treatment, should they prove to have the virus,” he said.
Which areas would be affected by the partial lockdown?
In Greater Accra, the following areas will be affected:
1. Accra Metropolis;
2. Tema Metropolis;
3. Tema West Municipality;
4. Ledzokuku Municipality;
5. Krowor Municipality;
6. Adentan Municipality;
7. Ashiaman Municipality;
8. La-Nkwantanang-Madina Municipality;
9. La-Dade-Kotopon Municipality;
10. Okaikwei North Municipality;
11. Ablekuma North Municipality;
12. Ablekuma West Municipality;
13. Ablekuma Central Municipality;
14. Ayawaso East Municipality;
15. Ayawaso North Municipality;
16. Ayawaso West Municipality;
17. Ayawaso Central Municipality
18. Ga West Municipality;
19. Ga North Municipality;
20. Ga Central Municipality;
21. Ga South Municipality;
22. Ga East Municipality;
23. Korle-Klottey Municipality;
24. Weija/Gbawe Municipality;
25. Kpone Katamanso Municipality; and
26. Awutu Senya East Municipality.
In the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area and contiguous districts, the following areas are affected:
1. Kumasi Metropolis;
2. Asokwa Municipality;
3. Suame Municipality;
4. Old Tafo Municipality;
5. Oforikrom Municipality;
6. Asokore Mampong Municipality;
7. Kwadaso Municipality;
8. Atwima Nwabiagya Municipality;
9. Kwabre East Municipality;
10. Ejisu Municipality;
11. Afigya-Kwabre South District;
12. Bosomtwi District;
13. Atwima Kwanwoma District; and
14. Atwima Nwabiagya North District.
What does the partial lockdown in these areas mean?
This, in essence, means that everyone resident in these areas must stay at home for the next two weeks. However, if you must go out, it must only be to get essential items such as food, medicine, water, undertake banking transactions, or to use public toilet facilities. But, as much as possible, stay at home.
This means that banks food marts, pharmacies, public toilets etc are expected to open and run during the period!
Can you travel or use transportation during the partial lockdown?
There shall be, during this period, no inter-city movement of vehicles and aircrafts for private or commercial purposes for the areas of the restrictive measures, except for vehicles and aircrafts providing essential services and those carrying cargo. Riders of motorbikes are not allowed to carry any additional person, and all intra-city passenger vehicles, such as trotros and taxis, must reduce the number of passengers in order to observe appropriate social distancing and hygiene protocols.
Additionally, all commercial vehicle stations shall observe appropriate hygiene protocols and social distancing. The Ministry of Transport has engaged the transport operators and unions in this regard. The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has also engaged with the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and the leaders of the market associations in the country to make satisfactory arrangements about the operation of the markets that ensure observance of social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols. In any event, only persons involved in the food value chain can operate in the markets during this period.
Which people are expected to work during the partial lockdown?
Individuals and institutions providing the following services shall be exempted from the restrictions:
i Members of the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary;
ii production, distribution and marketing of food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, medicine, paper and plastic packages;
iii environmental and sanitation activities;
iv staff of VALCO;
v road and railway construction workers;
vi mining workers;
viii members of the security agencies assigned lawful duties;
ix staff of electricity, water, telecommunications, e-commerce and digital service providers; and
x staff of fuel stations.
Enforcement of the partial lockdown
To accelerate the contact tracing process, and ensure curtailing the spread of the virus in the shortest time, the military and police would be used to assist health authorities to expedite the process.
Nana Addo commented “We will also pursue a policy of testing ALL CONTACTS of people tested positive.The affected areas, and, indeed, all other regions have earmarked designated isolation and treatment centres for the management of suspected and confirmed cases, as well as the selection of facilities for mandatory quarantine is being carried out. An intensive public health education and community awareness on social distancing and hand washing will be carried out.”