Ghana appears to be living on a health time-bomb with seeming disregard for COVID-19 protocols despite increase in the country’s active cases and reports of new strain of the virus in neighbouring Nigeria.
Markets, malls and shops are chockfull with selling and buying done everywhere, street corners and road shoulders inclusive, with neglect to the protocols.
At the Accra Tema Station and the Makola Markets in the Central Business District of the national capital, the Ghana News Agency observed that, most sellers and buyers have abandoned the wearing of nose masks.
There is no sight of hand washing stations as used to be the case months ago.
It is a ‘bumper to bumper’ situation, as traders meander through the ‘forest of people’ as head porters scream “agoo, agoo” to ramble through the crowd.
Matilda Annan, a trader at the Tema Station said provisions were made for washing of hands at the entrance of the Station but the whereabouts of the facility was not known.
“People do not care about hand washing anymore,” a leader at the Station, who sought anonymity, added.
Akosua Pomaah, a trader at Makola Market, who had her nose mask under her chin, said most customers had stopped using nose masks and that the few people who came with them, had them in their pockets.
Vera Appah, 27, who said she was at the Makola Market to buy foodstuff, lamented about the crowd and disregard for social distancing, saying, both buyers and sellers had to push their way through.
The situation is not different at the commercial vehicle (trotro) stations around the markets.
The vehicles are fully loaded with passengers, with many, not in nose masks.
Peter Ayitey, a commercial driver at the Ho Station near Tema Station, said without enforcement of the protocols, the country could go for a second lockdown and challenge government to enforce the protocols.
“Enforcement is important to the campaign. Without enforcement, there’s no need for the laws and protocols. The taskforces and security persons must wake up and protect us all,” a retired Educationist, spotted in a double layer nose masks with a bottle of hand sanitizer ‘trapped’ in his belt hole, added.
Globally, COVID-19 has changed the way customers shop either by choice or because of mandated lockdowns and restrictions.
But it appears the lack of enforcement of the protocols is pushing Ghana’s case count high, with fears of the country recording new strains.
According to the Ghana Health Service, the country’s COVID-19 active cases have increased to 1,261, with 193 new cases recorded by first week of January, 2021.
As stated in the latest update on the Service’s website, the country has since March this year, recorded 56,230 confirmed cases with 54,631 recoveries, and a total of 338 deaths.