Ghana’s Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu hints that government is considering plans to arrest recalcitrant persons who refuse to adhere to basic guidelines in fighting COVID-19 such as wearing of face mask in public spaces.
A frustrated Agyeman Manu said such persons could face a three-month jail term for not adhering to safety protocols.
“All of us should become ambassadors to preach wherever we are that we should observe the basic rules or guidelines that have come out. They are not very difficult to do. So I don’t understand why some of us do not do these things.”
“We have been thinking about what next to do to enforce strict compliance of these basic guidelines. We are working on that and very soon, we will see the police arresting some of us who are becoming too recalcitrant and when you are jailed three months for not wearing a mask in public, probably, you will take a cue from that,” he said.
Health Minister laments disregard for mandatory face masks directive
Kwaku Agyeman Manu during a previous session observed with dismay the manner in which sections of the public are not complying with the directive to wear face masks.
“There are those of us who don’t have [money]. We need some [of the masks] to wear so that the President will know we are listening to his advise. The idea of ‘I don’t have money to buy’ should not be an excuse for anybody. We see people in the middle of the street begging for money. So that money you are begging for, use some to buy the mask. Some cannot be worn on several occasions. We call them disposables. When you wear it and take it off, you throw it away. It’s not many of us that can wear that one. But the ones they are sewing in Ghana are reusable but before you reuse, you have to wash it, disinfect and iron it,” he stated.
Compulsory wearing of face masks
Food vendors, commercial vehicle drivers, public transports managers, and every other facility accessible to the public have been directed to ensure the compulsory wearing of nose masks, following the constant increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 in Ghana.
This order, which is in compliance with the Public Health Act, was given in a statement issued by the Ghana Health Service on behalf of the Minister of Health.
“Pursuant to section 169 of the Public Health Act, 2013 (Act 851), the Minister responsible for Health by an Executive Instrument (E.I.61) declared COVID-19 a public health emergency. Section 170 (1) provides that the Minister of Health may order an individual to take a preventive measure in respect of public health matters,” the statement said.
The statement continued, “The Minister of Health thereby directs the use of face masks in all public places where it may be difficult to maintain social distancing. The general public is encouraged to wear a mask or face covering when going out whether sick or not or attending to a sick person.”
Ghana’s current case count
As of Thursday, May 14, 2020, the country has a total case count of 5,530 with 674 recoveries and 24 deaths.