Minority blames upsurge in COVID-19 cases on lifting of partial lockdown

The Minority caucus in parliament is attributing the upsurge in Ghana’s coronavirus (COVID-19) cases to the ‘premature’ lifting of the partial lockdown imposed on some cities a couple of weeks ago. 

The three-week lockdown, imposed on Accra, Tema, Kasoa, Kumasi and Obuasi pursuant to the Imposition of Restriction Act, was to stop the respiratory disease from further spread.

Since the lockdown was lifted on April 20, Ghana’s case has jumped from 1,042 to 3,091 at the time of filing this report. 

Addressing journalists in parliament yesterday, Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, said the decision to lift the lockdown was to be blamed for the increase in cases. 

“The President took a terrible gamble with our lives when he lifted the lockdown at a time our case count was increasing.

“That decision has led to the situation where, since the removal of the lockdown, confirmed cases have more than doubled and deaths have more than tripled,” Mr Iddrisu, MP, Tamale South said. 

According to the Minority Leader, the decision has also led to the emergence of hotspots in almost all parts of the country. 

“President Akufo-Addo must take responsibility for this unfortunate turn of events,” Mr Iddrisu stressed. 

He has thus cautioned the President against further easing restrictions as case count for the disease continues to rise. 

“As the science dictates, this cannot be the time for further easing of restrictions. We expect a more proactive policy response. We should be fighting the virus ahead of it and not from behind,” he said.

Declaring their support for the call by the Ghana Medical Association for a different approach in containing and limiting the spread of the disease, Mr Iddrisu said, “President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo should be led by sound epidemiological data and not political calculations.” 

In the view of Mr Iddrisu and the caucus, at every point in its response, government had been playing catch up. 

“The reactionary policymaking that this has occasioned has left our containment efforts lagging behind the threat,” he said and berated government for downplaying the extent and consequences of the disease when it was clear that local transmission was gradually gaining grounds. 

The fact, he said, was that “we have no idea about the true scale of the problem, because nearly three months into the pandemic we are still trying to formulate a testing strategy that allows us to estimate the general prevalence of COVID-19 on a timely basis.”

He reassured of the Minority caucus’ support for government efforts, but urged it to be open-minded and listen to the other side of the political divide in addressing the crisis. 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI 

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