COVID-19: The Chaos After A Lockdown – Bernard Amoh Writes

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The world is still battling the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This virus primarily attacks one’s respiratory system and manifests at it lethal stage. The global total confirmed cases stands at 621,636+ with some 28,658+ fatalities.
As the world struggles to overcome this carcinogenic virus, many countries have instituted localised contingencies including but not limited to localised lockdowns, preaching precautions and prevention, #Stay@Home, #SpreadCalmAndNotFear etc. Scientists around the world are fervently doing their best to find a remedy to this virus.
Health professionals and other frontline workers like the police and military have put their lives at risk to avert a potential human extinction. Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) are in shortage globally but frontline workers are resolute to protect the human race. This reminds me of Jesus’ death for humanity.
But what is more scary is that some people don’t seem to care about the sacrifice being made by others in the face of COVID-19. We must thank and appreciate what the frontline workers are doing for us by staying at home and being safe.

The Ghana Case
The President of the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has addressed the nation on four occasions since the country recorded its first confirmed case. The latest was on Friday, March 27, 2020. In this address, he announced stricter directives to curb the horizontal spread of the virus, including but not limited to a partial lockdown of Greater Accra, including Kasoa and Greater Kumasi effective 1 am on Monday, March 30, 2020. He also announced a Ghc 4 billion stimulus package subject to parliamentary approval in an attempt to alleviate the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian and businesses that will suffer as a result of COVID-19. Indeed leadership has been delineated.
But a big question still lingers, ie, _if this is enough_ . In the face of any form of lockdown, won’t hunger kill the poor if enough regulations are not put in place to look out for the poor and vulnerable? As soon as the President announced a partial lockdown of our two major cities, prices of food and other essentials have been hiked astronomically. How is a poor individual going to survive this for the next 14 days? Surprisingly, the hikes in food and other essentials are not restricted to only the affected areas but across the country. The poor ordinary Ghanaian can’t survive this.
There is also the case of panic buying. Do we have enough food to last 14 days? Is there enough gas for households? Ex-pump price for fuel is still high. Water is still costly. Electricity too same. If care is not taken, hunger, more than coronavirus will be the killer. There is also the potential of spread of the virus looking at the grace period given before the lockdown. There is already a surge in urban rural migration due to the announcement. Italy suffered the same fate which has now overwhelmed them.

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The Citizen
Ghanaian citizens are predominantly religious yet, faced with difficulties, could be the most mean, at least from my experience. We talk about discrimination and racism but we tend to inflict same on ourselves.
When the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was recorded in Ghana, the prices of hand sanitizers sky rocketed. This was a clear discrimination against the poor who couldn’t afford it.
Immediately the President announced the partial lockdown, food retailers increased prices. In markets across the country, a bunch of plantain which was sold for Ghc 10.00 yesterday now goes for Ghc 25.00. An olonca of gari, sold between Ghc 7.00 and Ghc 10.00 is today sold between Ghc 15.00 and Ghc 20.00. Fruit prices have hiked. Virtually every essential food item has increased exponentially overnight. This is a clear discrimination against the poor who can’t afford.
We have prayed to God for help in this trying moment but the real help must come from ourselves. We need to be our brothers’ keepers in moments like this. Enriching ourselves at the expense of others in the face of this pandemic is an affront to good judgement. Posterity awaits us all.
It must also be said that a few people and groups are genuinely offering a helping hand to the poor and vulnerable. A lot more people and groups have the capacity to help and its instructive to do the needful. We are not in ordinary times and this is the time to show love to your poor neighbor.
God be with us all. Shalom!

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By: Bernard Kofi Amoh
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