COVID-19 fuel confusion in markets needs urgent attention

In announcing the partial lockdown that commenced in the early hours of Monday, March 31, 2020, the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, made it clear that “Only persons involved in the food value chain can operate in the market areas.”

It therefore, means that, traders in the affected areas who are in the food value can continue with their business in the markets while observing the social distancing protocol that everyone is expected to observe to prevent the spread of the corona virus.

After the announcement many people in the affected cities of Accra, Kumasi, Tema and Kasoa heaved a sigh of relief because many had speculated that the President was going to announce a total lockdown down.

The President did not but rather announced a partial lockdown and outlined what those in the affected areas were supposed to do during the 14-day period. 

In fact, many also hailed the announcement by the President, for allowing those on the food value chain to go and sell in the market because most of us dependent on the foodstuffs that are sold in the markets.

Besides, that singular decision adequately caters for the economic interest of the market women, many of whom trade in perishable food items.

However, there appears to be confusion as to what exactly is the directive of the President, when he said, “Only persons involved in the food value chain can operate in the market areas.”

While the market women interpret it to mean that they must go a do business as usual and with no regard to the COVID-19 protocols, security agencies who are tasked to see to the full implementation of the partial lockdown insist that they must adhere to the protocols, particularly social distancing.

Unsurprisingly, this has led to some misunderstanding and confusion between market women in some of the markets in Accra, Kasoa and Ashaiman.

This developments no doubt is a distraction that is needless. The President was clear in his address and, therefore, there is no point for the misunderstanding which can potentially divert our attention from focusing solely on fighting the corona virus pandemic.

The Ghanaian Times’ concern is that the market women are insisting on doing the old things they did previously and refusing to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols, particularly social distancing.

We have seen images from the Kasoa market for instance, showing the traders doing brisk business with careless abandon, as they ignore the laid down protocols to prevent the spread of the COVID-19.

In addition, they had spilled over to the pavements and pedestrian walkways which is completely against the lockdown directive. This is indiscipline.

We call on the government to clarify the directive so that the confusion can be settled. This will help reduce the spread of the virus as intended by the President and keep the entire country safe.  

Otherwise all efforts and resources committed to the fight so far would be in vain. 

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