Social Distancing amid COVID-19: GMA deserves a listening ear

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the world without enough knowledge as to how to deal with the disease, health experts have devised several means to combat and defeat the virus.

Apart from the usual case management methods in the hospitals and health centres governments worldwide have ordered citizens to practise what is now known widely as social distancing.

In almost all jurisdictions around the world, social distancing, in addition to hand washing with soap under running water has become an effective tool to fight the rapid spread of the disease.

In fact, in the absence of a vaccine to cure those infected with COVID-19, public health officials have managed to convince decision makers that with the current scientific uncertainties related to the virus, social distancing is the surest way to cut the spread of the disease.

Evidence on the ground from all part of the world, has shown that social distancing measures are working effectively and achieving results.

According to the health experts  ‘social distancing’ decreases or interrupts transmission of COVID-19 in a population group by minimising physical contact between potentially infected individuals and healthy individuals, or between population groups with high rates of transmission and population groups with no or a low level of transmission.

Indeed, the success of social distancing measures that are implemented over an extended period may depend on ensuring that people maintain social contact – from a distance – with friends, family and colleagues.

Unfortunately, here in Ghana, it appears the social distancing directive is not been adhered to in a manner that would achieve the desired results.

Instead of the COVID-19 confirmed cases declining since we have reached our peak as we have been told, cases are rather increasing with that of the weekend being the most dramatic.

That is why; we are not surprised at the insistence of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) urging the government not to lift the ban on public gatherings for now.

The GMA’s call is coming at the back of sharp increases in the number of COVID-19 cases from 3,091 to 4,262 within 24 hours.

The rapid increase in the numbers, no doubt influenced the statement issued by the GMA on Saturday, to among other things, urge the government to sustain the ban on public gatherings.

“His Excellency the President of the Republic should not lift the ban on social gatherings for religious activities, schools, marriage ceremonies, funerals etc.

“The government must ensure that our international borders…remain closed for now”, the statement said, among others.

The Ghanaian Times is not surprised that the GMA has come to the conclusion that the government must maintain the social gathering ban and for our borders to remain closed for now.

We share in the concerns raised by the GMA particularly in relation to the high confirmed cases.

Anyone watching the numbers would come to the same conclusion as the GMA but because we are not health experts and not completely apprised with the full picture, we would not take any position yet.

However, our appeal to government would be to consider the advice offered by the GMA in any future decision on social distancing.

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