Covid-19: Akufo-Addo hints of road map to ease restrictions
President Akufo-Addo has noted that Ghana cannot be under Covid-19 restrictions for ever and that consultations are going on to find a way forward. Since the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ghana in March this year, President Akufo-Addo announced some stringent health protocols to save the citizenry from fast spreading the virus, which is continuing to wreak havoc on human lives across the globe, including Ghana.
A lot of businesses and jobs have been threatened and religious bodies, albeit they are neither business nor employment centers, have also been badly hit since March this year.
Speaking at this year’s Virtual Eid Ul-Fitr celebration at the forecourt of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation on Sunday, President Akufo-Addo said stakeholder consultations were still ongoing to find ways of easing these restrictions.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the stakeholder consultations would end this week “so that I can announce to Ghanaians a clear roadmap for easing the restrictions. We have to find a way back, but in safety, for we cannot be under these restrictions forever.”
The announcement, which is expected to bring relief and smiles to Ghanaians, has generated divergent views among some residents in Ashaiman, especially should the government allow educational and religious activities to resume soon.
Jacob Antor, Samuel Larbi and Jacqueline Prikutse, who spoke to The Chronicle, said schools should be opened for only final year students, and that churches and mosques should remain closed.
Mr Antor, a student, said: “For me, I read in a recent article of how South Africa has put measures in place for all final year students in various grades to get back to school, and they have started. So, for school, I think only the JHS 3, SHS 3 and final year students in various tertiary institutions should be allowed back to school. So school will be ideal first.”
“Because, not only do the schools provide knowledge, they also serve as a source of income for [a] large number of people. Therefore, I want the President to open schools first to enable all teachers, especially the private schools teachers, whose employment had been temporarily suspended as a result of the COVID-19, to resume work,” a teacher, Samuel Larbi, said.
Similarly, a student, Miss Jacqueline Prikutse, said: “Schools should be opened first, and only [for] final year students from the universities and senior high schools and junior high schools.
“We can use them as a pilot project to analyse how to handle students in the next academic year, even with Covid in existence.”
Marian Eugenia Adjimah, a graduate, on the contrary, was of the view that churches should be opened first instead of schools.
She defended: “Churches should be opened first, and instead of having a general service, they can have two or three sessions.
“The pastors need to have a platform for all their leaders and people who are willing, where they will teach them and enlighten them on the theme for the week. Then, they too, can also get going with the people. The leaders will definitely have subordinates they trust can hold the fort in their absence, so I just feel this is the time for people to get along with the Gospel and not leave everything to the Head Pastor only.”
But, Evangelist Michael Creg Afful of the Gbetsile branch of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) said opening churches is like wisdom versus folly. He argued with reference from John 8:59, that Christ Jesus, himself, ran from the enemy. “Christ saw the enemy, but for Coronavirus, you don’t see the virus.
“Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple (fool) goes on and suffers for it. Again Proverbs 13:16 says: “In everything, the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.”
He said: “What some pastors have deliberately or refused to acknowledge is that the church is not like a market place. We can apply sanitiser. We can wash our hands, but how are we going to stop people from shouting and screaming during praises and worship? In our churches, the Holy Spirit works through us to deliver miracles to God’s children. When the Holy Spirit is present, sometimes, some members of the congregation get possessed, so they shout, run around, and those assigned to handle such situations quickly move in to lay hold of them to bring them under control.
“Now, we have been told to ensure physical distancing, and also avoid touching, so assuming church reopens and miracle church services start and members are falling under anointing, are we going to leave them to knock their heads against the chairs?”
To end his view against the reopening of churches, Evangelist Afful said Ghanaian pastors should emulate their counterparts in Liberia, who remained united against the opening of churches now.
Some residents only advised the government to be guided by the blow the virus handed to countries that eased similar restrictions and allowed schools and churches to resume, and be wary in whatever decision it takes.
Meanwhile, the management of Sentuo Group has presented 6,000 pieces of surgical facemasks to the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly for distribution to the public in the municipality,
The donation is to help curb the spread of the Coronavirus in the municipality and help residents adhere to the Ministry of Health’s advice on wearing masks to prevent infection.
A consultant of Sentuo Group, Emmanuel Ayensu, in an interview after the brief presentation, said the company, which regards itself as a member of the community, decided to support the efforts of the government to win the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, hence, the gesture.
“As you are aware, most of the countries that have made significant progress in countering the spread of the virus have enforced the wearing of facemasks, hence, we have decided to support these efforts, especially to communities within our operational areas,” he said.
He urged the public to embrace the wearing of facemasks campaign, and vigorously practise it to halt the spread of the virus.
The Municipal Chief Executive for Ashaiman, Albert Boakye Okyere, who received the items, commended Sentuo Group for contributing towards the fight against the pandemic