With the latest figures published by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) revealing a more than 2,200% spike in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the twelve weeks since the ending of the lockdown in parts of the country, its increasingly disheartening to observe the manner in which safety protocols are disregarded with reckless abandon.
Whilst we should be thankful that the mortality rate in our nation is significantly low, relative to other nations, the worst form of unrestrained indiscipline is constantly on display. There seems to be the growing sentiment that all the warnings were much ado about nothing; that health authorities had cried wolf and made it seem as though the end of the world was upon us.
Nothing could be further from the truth! Even a cursory look at the rate of spread, the crippling of businesses, the lack of productivity from many within the labour force, the further complications recorded by those who have recovered and have been discharged, the rising death toll, the possibility of a second wave and the mutation of the virus (as history has shown us) should make us realize the scale of the challenge we are faced with.
It is in line with this that the President, via the Executive Instrument (E.I 164), stipulated punishments of prison sentences of four to ten years or a fine of GHc12,000 to GHc60,000, or both, for non-compliance with safety protocols, especial, the non-wearing of prescribed facemasks in public.
Sadly, some sections of the public seem to consider the punishments stipulated under E.I. 164 to be draconian and excessive. Some have argued that the government cannot realistically impose a fine of GHc60, 000 or afford to increase the prison population at such a time as this, especially with general elections only months away.
Every society needs checks and balances for its survival; not just threats of these but actual implementation. It is incumbent upon each and every one of us to treat this as a global, national, human and personal threat.
Perhaps, we might have to implement the ‘less draconian’ measures such as naming-and-shaming, the issuance of spot fines, and punitive community service measures such as garbage collection and similar sanitary engagements to curb the flagrant disregard for Covid-19 public health safety protocols.
Source: B&FT Online