President: Let’s consider the poor in the calls for a lockdown Featured

By Nana Yaw Dwamena March 27, 2020 2959 1711 comments

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says although locking down the country is one of the ways to contain the coronavirus, the circumstances and conditions of ordinary Ghanaians must be taken into account.

“The majority of people who will be affected by decisions of that nature are the working people of our country – the ordinary people of Ghana. They are the ones who will be most affected, and it is important for us, when we are taking these decisions, to take into account their circumstances and conditions,” the President said when he met leaders of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) at Jubilee House yesterday.

“You are going to lock down Accra: what are the consequences? When you lock down the country, what are the consequences?” he asked.

As a responsible government, what is required of him and his functionaries, the President said, is to consider all the implications before taking any decision.

“And I am hoping that much sooner than later, we will come to an agreement within government on what those measures are, and then the Ghanaian people will be informed,” he added.

TUC stance

In a release issued on Wednesday, the TUC called on the government to adopt what it described as “more aggressive measures” to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus, adding that the government should consider a total lockdown, if necessary.

“Mr President, the risk of spread of the virus in Ghana remains high. We need more aggressive measures to protect the people from this deadly virus, including a lockdown if that is what is needed to protect the people,”  Dr Yaw Baah, TUC general secretary, said in the release.

Continuous review

While acknowledging the expression of support by the TUC, President Akufo-Addo said the various measures put in place by the government have one aim: to limit the spread of the virus as much as possible.

“All of these measures have one aim: as much as possible to limit the spread of this disease in our communities, find a way of containing it and, hopefully, suppressing it so that we can get on with the normal social and economic life of our country,” he said.

“We are under constant review. We are looking at measures we have taken and constantly reviewing them and make sure we are abreast of the issue and provide an effective antidote.”

The President said that measures taken by his government, including border closures, a ban on international travel and subjecting people newly arrived in the country to mandatory quarantine and testing, have so far proved effective.

“At the end of the day, the decision to ban international travel as well as to take the measures of quarantine and testing are being vindicated by facts. It tells us that the overwhelming number of the confirmed cases of infection that we have are from people who came from abroad,” he said.

More to be done

The President said although focusing on the importation of the virus and the infection has proved to be absolutely spot on, the government will still put in place further measures.

“We have to constantly look at whatever additional measures are there that will put us in a strong place to deal with this menace, and that is what we are constantly doing,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo again told the TUC’s leaders that their letter did not in any way strike him as a criticism or an attempt to undermine the government’s position.

“So, I took your letter in that spirit that recognises the efficacy of some of the measures that have already been laid out, and now we are looking at additional measures to make sure that we can contain this virus. I saw it as a helpful expression of support,” he said.

Opportunity

Reiterating his stance on the need for Ghana to be self-dependent, the President said that although the pandemic has caused much harm, it offers an opportunity for Ghana to strengthen its production capacity.

“We have seen how dependent we are on imports for our medicines. That should not be the case, but that is the reality after so many years of neglect.

“We are now finding our capacity to produce things for ourselves in this country,” he said.

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