Public, social gathering defiance: We’ll deal with law breakers – President

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has warned that anyone who flouts the ban on public and social gathering as set out in Executive Instrument (E.I 64) will face the full wrath of the law.

Till May 31, no one is expected to hold or attend conferences, workshops, parties, nightclubs, drinking spots, beaches, festivals, political rallies, religious activities and sporting events. Additionally, all educational facilities, private and public, are to remain closed.

There is also a ban on funerals, other than private burials conducted with not more than 25 persons, President Akufo-Addo said in a televised address to the nation on Sunday night.

The ban forms part of measures by the government to control the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak in the country. Ghana has so far conducted over 160,000 COVID 19 tests and has recorded 4,700 positive cases with 22 deaths and 494 recoveries.

“We cannot allow a few persons, for their narrow, selfish interests, to jeopardise the health, well-being and safety of the larger population. If you fall foul of the law, you will face its full rigours. Fellow Ghanaians, I, like you, would love to see an end to these restrictions. I know the difficulties each and every one of you has been through over the last two months”.

“You have had to alter completely your way of life; you have had to stay at home, except for specified purposes; you cannot travel outside the country; you cannot go to church, and you had to cancel activities usually associated with Easter; in this Holy Month of Ramadan, our Muslim brothers and sisters are having to pray at home, instead of congregating at the mosque, and foregoing the public celebration of the Eid.”

“Parents are having to bear the extra burden of providing care for their children who, instead of being in school, are currently at home; operators of trotros, taxis, buses, markets, hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs have lost the patronage of their clients, and, as a result, lost much needed incomes; significant numbers of people have, unfortunately lost their jobs because of the impact of the virus on our economy; most of us want to hang out with our families, friends and loved ones in a social setting, but cannot,” he said.

Uncomfortable as these restrictions have been, the President said Ghanaians have no option but to stay the course and added that people can only guarantee their safety if they continue to adhere to the measures.

President Akufo-Addo said the restrictions will not be a permanent feature of the lives of Ghanaians and indicated that shortly, he will announce the steps for, systematically, easing the restrictive measures to bring us back to normality.

“Each one of us, however, can help to speed up this process if we continue to practise the measures of social distancing, washing our hands with soap under running water, refraining from shaking hands, and, wearing our masks whenever we leave our homes.”

“These measures must be respected by all. We do this not just for ourselves, but also to lessen the workload on our health workers, who continue to be at the forefront of caring for those affected by the virus, and caring for the sick in general,” he said.

The President said the government has, so far, performed well in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, noting that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has reached out to Ghana to share its sample pooling experience with other African countries.

“This early identification of persons with the virus ensures that they do not spread the virus to others; we are provided with the opportunity to treat them; and it helps us to understand better the dynamics of the virus.”

“The rapid implementation of all of our policies has resulted in our low infection, hospitalisation and death rates, some of the lowest in Africa and the world. We, certainly, must be doing something right in Ghana,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo stressed the need for Ghanaians to maintain the measures of enhanced hygiene and social distancing protocols to contain the spread of the virus because that was the surest way to quick return to a life of normalcy.

By Yaw Kyei

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