Why COVID-19 safety protocol defiance must carry heavy punishment now!

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Sunday underscored the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country by banning funerals, weddings, concerts, theatrical performances and parties in order to control the surge in the country.

Furthermore, he also said private burials would be allowed to take place but with not more than 25 people in attendance, and characterised by strict enforcement of the protocol of social distancing, hygiene and mask wearing.

In a televised address to the nation last Sunday night, President Akufo-Addo entreated workplaces, public and private, to employ a shift-system for workers in addition to the use of virtual platforms for business or work.

“Conferences and workshops can take place with all the appropriate protocols. However, I encourage the use of virtual platforms for such engagements.

Restaurants should provide take-away services, and should, as much as possible, avoid seated services.”

“The National Sports Authority and the Ghana Football Association should ensure compliance with the 25 per cent capacity rule in our stadia, with spectators respecting the social distancing rule and wearing masks,” he said.

The President believes the new measures have become necessary to contain the upsurge in the pandemic in the country.

“The imposition of restrictions on our daily routines helped in reducing the prevalence of the pandemic in the country, and government has been left with no option but to re-introduce some of these restrictions in order to help save the situation.”

“I know these measures, in the recent past, were unpleasant, but, over a period, they resulted in a favourable situation for our country. We have to return to them,” he said.

The Ghanaian Times fully supports the President for re-introducing the measures at this critical period when more than 64 people have died from COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths to 416 in the last two weeks.

For us, the disease is too close for comfort and the only way it can be kept under control is to adhere strictly to the safety protocol and those who defy it punished severely to serve as a deterrent.

We have reached a point where it is no longer a matter of choice to wear a nose mask. Once it is mandatory and law enforcement agencies are mandated to arrest defaulters, the punishment should be severe to deter defiance.

We might have collectively contributed to the current spike in infections and it should be the responsibility of all to adhere strictly to the safety protocol so that collectively we keep the disease at bay.

We once again appeal to all citizens to see it as a civic duty to respect the protocol by observing physical distancing, washing hands with soap frequently under running water, sanitising hands and wearing nose mask.

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