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President Akufo-Addo’s decision to lift lockdown was based on sound advice from experts – Oppong Nkrumah

Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has indicated that President Akufo-Addo’s decision to lift the imposition of restrictions order in the Greater Accra, Greater Kumasi as well as Tema and Kasoa has been based on advice from infectious disease experts as well as epidemiologists.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah in an interview with Citi Fm, Monday, noted that the restrictions imposed was only to allow the country get ahead of the virus by determining the early infection rate, dynamics of the outbreak specific to the Ghanaian jurisdiction as well as the geographic pattern of infection.

According to him, the country has successfully been able to complete these three-pointers, hence the President’s decision to lift the three-week lockdown while maintaining all other preventive etiquette.

“The President announced way ahead of time that we were locking down in Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi to give us an opportunity to do something and that something essential is to get ahead of the virus. Getting ahead of the virus means first of all, to be able to determine your early infection rate. If you compare Wuhan, Italy, Spain or the US, it took a while for them to even find the infection rate and hospitalization rate because a lot of them waited until things got a bit out of hands so part of the strategy to get ahead of the virus is get the early infection rate and you will also want to understand the dynamics of your particular outbreak in your jurisdiction, ie, is it affecting old people? are you catching symptomatic people with underlying conditions or is your mechanism such that you are rather catching early exposure and asymptomatic persons. You also want to know the geographic print of it, current and potential and then you examine measures that can cut down your positive rate or infection rate

“You can come to a third level which is restrictions on movement and public gatherings, the things that allow communal spread significantly and then you can even come down to the preventive etiquette. What the President has done after listening to the infectious disease experts and epidemiologists, etc, is to say let us maintain all our preventive etiquette. In America now, if they had started the preventive etiquette of social distancing or some of the things we have been doing in Ghana for close to two months now, they would have even cut in some cases their infection rate by 60% so there is a lot of value in dealing with the preventive etiquette to cut this 1.09 a bit further,” he indicated.

According to the Ofoase Ayirebi lawmaker, Ghanaians should not lose sight of the fact that all other restrictions which play a critical role in fighting the pandemic are still in place; like the closure of borders, ban on public gatherings and a new introduction; the wearing of masks by all.

“All the other restrictions that were imposed have been maintained, closure of the borders, ban on public gathering, ban on social and religious activities, all of those restrictions have been maintained if fact we have now added one other layer of restriction or preventive etiquette which is the compulsory wearing of masks and if you follow globally, the science around the world is urging a lot of countries to go that way.

“So you are maintaining your preventive etiquette to cut the positivity rate, you are maintaining the restrictions, again that cuts it a bit further, you are even enhancing these restrictions by even going towards the wearing of masks, and yes, the President didn’t say it’s compulsory but it is a major urge, we are producing a lot of it locally and encouraging a lot of people to produce locally and in the coming days you are going to see a ramp-up of guidelines for the wearing of masks, as he mentioned,” he added.

The President’s decision to lift the lockdown in an address to the nation on Sunday, April 19, 2020, has been greeted with mixed reactions from the populace as some are applauding the President for what they describe as a ‘humanitarian’ decision while others believe the easing of restrictions is simply a bad idea.

 

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