“Lifting lockdown now will cause more harm than good”

Health Economist, Dr. Gordon Abeka-Nkrumah is cautioning against calls for the government not to extend the lockdown in parts of the country.

Dr. Gordon Abeka-Nkrumah says Ghana is at its critical stage in the fight against the novel coronavirus and any move to remove the current restriction of movements will affect the progress made so far.

President Nana Akufo-Addo is expected to address the nation this weekend on additional measures government is taking to curb the spread of the virus amidst calls for lockdown on Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Kumasi to be lifted.

But speaking on Citi FM/TV’s news and current affairs programme, The Big Issue, Dr. Gordon Abeka Nkrumah said government must consider a number of factors before making such a decision.

“Lockdowns have economic gradients. So the best we can do is to make sure that, we get people to stay home in the next week or two. We make sure we ramp up tests and isolate people and then we can encourage the wearing of masks so that we can then come out. Because if we don’t do that and we joke, what will happen is that, we may go back again and lockdown entirely in a way that we probably can not handled. We need to get a bit more firm and get this to work.”

Last week, government extended the lockdown imposed on some parts of the country by one more week.

The extension took effect from Monday, April 13, 2020, subject to review.

“The decision has been taken through the issuance of another executive instrument to extend the restriction of movements in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area and Kasoa and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area and its contiguous districts by one more week beginning 1 am on Monday the 13th of April, subject to review,” the President said.

The decision was also aimed at assisting the government to enhance its contact tracing and testing efforts.

Number of COVID-19 cases to determine if lockdown will be extended – Okoe Boye

Deputy Health Minister, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye says the decision to lift the lockdown or extend it will be dependent on the number of cases recorded in the country.

While answering questions from Members of Parliament during his vetting, Dr. Okoe Boye said: “If after the lockdown, you have a curve that is rising or that are going up, then you have to either maintain your measures or escalate them.”

“So if you have a partial lockdown and at the time you imposed that lockdown you had only 400 cases and now with the partial lockdown, your cases have increased to 2,000 obviously, you must be interested in where the cases are coming from. You’d want to know the source of the cases whether they were imported cases or person to person (communal). But if you look at our situation now, we have 636 cases but the numbers that are adding on, are not necessarily new cases but are old samples and are due to the limit in our testing capacity.”

“So some of the positive cases now are actually samples taken a week or two ago…So after all these are done and the net graph you are having is a graph that is not at the top…then you try to ease your measures but if your graph is pointing upwards then you don’t have to be hasty in lowering your measures but rather keep your measures or escalate them so everything will be driven by the science of it.”

Ghana’s confirmed cases of COVID-19

Ghana’s case count of COVID-19 stands at 834.

Meanwhile, 99 infected persons have recovered from the novel Coronavirus in Ghana with eight deaths recorded.

The number of active cases is 726.

The Greater Accra Region has the most cases with 514 followed by the Ashanti Region with 53 and Eastern Region with 41.

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