Easing COVID-19 restrictions:Brace up for economic setbacks – Population expert urges businesses

It will take some time for international migration for all purposes to bounce back when border restrictions imposed by various countries to contain COVID-19 are eased, a population expert, Prof Stephen Owusu Kwankye has said.

The associate professor at the Regional Institute for Population Studies,University of Ghana has therefore asked businesses to brace themselves for the economic ramifications of this. 

He attributed the slow recovery  to what he described as “self-imposed restrictions” by individuals, due to the fear of contracting the virus which has so far killed more than 300,000 people globally out of over five million people infected so far.

“It is likely that it will take some time before international migration will start again because everyone is being cautious. Even when restrictions are lifted people will be cautious in their movement,” he told the Ghanaian Times in an interview.

Some countries especially in Europe have started easing border restrictions they imposed during the early days of the outbreak although the world is not out of the woods yet.

Including UK, Austria, Denmark, Italy, Norway and Turkey, they have announced plans to ease border restrictions at respective dates, under certain conditions and to specific category of travellers, beginning next week.

In Ghana, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is expected to either ease or extend the country’s several weeks of border closure which ends this month, when he addresses the nation, this weekend.

According to Professor Kwankye, the hesitation by people to travel to the other would persist for a while considering the magnitude of the devastation the virus had caused.

This fear to move, he said, would slow down economic activities associated with migration including tourism and other business which had been gravely affected by the pandemic.

He said there would be a rippling effect of this on incomes of individuals and businesses which would in turn affect the quality of life of people.

To curb the fear, he said it was important that various safety precautions including handwashing, wearing of face masks were adhered to reduce the impact of the pandemic.

BY JONATHAN DONKOR

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