Editorial : Restrictions eased, but Covid-19 still with us – protect yourself
Following the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, members of the various religious denominations have been compelled to stay away from church services for over three months now.
Ghana started with small reported cases of the virus, but the figure began to shoot up, compelling the government to introduce austerity measures to mitigate the situation.
Among these measures were the two weeks lockdown announced by President Akufo-Addo and religiously policed by the security agencies to stem the spread of the virus. Church services, Moslem prayers, funeral organisation, among a host of others, were also banned. Drivers were also ordered to observe social distancing by reducing the number of passengers they carry.
These hard hit measures, no doubt, affected the socio-economic lives of Ghanaians. Since it is part of our culture to give a befitting burial to departed colleagues, hundreds, if not thousands, of dead bodies are locked up in the various morgues – because their relatives are unwilling to go for these bodies and bury them without the usual fanfare associated with our funeral organisation. As we had earlier alluded to, these restrictions somehow curtailed the freedom of the people, but it was the necessary evil to deal with the pandemic.
Though Ghana currently has 33,624 recorded cases of COVID-19, the Akufo-Addo government has still decided to open up the economy by easing most of the restrictions. The President’s decision is premised on the fact that 29,801 of these reported cases have fully recovered, with 168 deaths. This means only 3,655 people are currently carrying the virus.
But, despite the success story we have written so far, the President, in easing the restrictions, warned the public to observe all the COVID-19 protocols.
Church services and Moslem prayers can go ahead, but members must observe the social distancing protocols and must close two hours after the start of the service or prayers. Though the new directive is still going to inconvenience people, The Chronicle urges the public to observe them in the interest of the state.
In other parts of the world, where the restrictions have fully been lifted, their governments are considering re-introducing them, after seeing a jump in the spread of the disease.
As the experts have always been educating us, the virus is not prepared to leave any time from now. We, as a people, must, therefore, be prepared to live with it until a vaccine is found to cure it. This is not the time for people to go back to church and start behaving as though there is nothing called COVID-19. The disease is real, and we must, therefore, support the government in fighting it.
It is our hope that our pastors and imams would also not disappoint the nation by throwing caution to winds and allow their congregations to breach all the laid-down protocols during services.
The President or the security agencies cannot be everywhere to monitor how people are going to behave.
The duty, therefore, falls on everyone to protect him/herself.