No sooner had President Akufo-Addo announced the lifting of the partial lockdown, than he realised the far-reaching consequences of the decision.
Just minutes after the President’s address, videos emerged on social media showing some Ghanaians jubilating over the decision.
While that was expected, what nobody predicted was to see grown men and women throwing social distancing to the dogs all in the name of celebrating the lifting of a lockdown.
As footages of similar irresponsible behaviours from across the country went viral on various social media platforms, the President and his advisors must have been given a timely reminder of the kind of society they find themselves presiding over.
All of a sudden the #StayHome campaign has been relegated. The partial lockdown in Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Kumasi was meant to give the government ample time to assess the Coronavirus situation in the country.
Even after lifting the restrictions, the President was emphatic is announcing that the ban on all forms of social gatherings remains in full force.
But was that really going to work, when citizens have been given the green light to move freely?
An indiscipline citizenry
As diplomatic as one would want to be, the fact is that Ghana is a country that lacks discipline. From top to down, very few are those who strictly adhere to rules and have the will to do the right things.
To this end, the government has so far struggled to make citizens comply with social distancing protocols. Government has announced that it is compulsory for everyone to wear face masks when stepping out, as a measure to curb the spread of the virus.
In truth, some Ghanaians are doing their best to adhere to these directives, but there are some recalcitrant ones who see no reason to.
Even before the partial lockdown was lifted, some residents of Chorkor were captured crammed at a beach and having fun. And this happened while the lockdown was in force.
It was this same indiscipline that angered the Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, into shutting down an MTN office at Dansoman Zodiac over blatant disregard for social distancing protocols.
Last week, kingmakers in Akropong also enstooled a chief amid heavy security from the police, despite the ban on social gatherings. If those expected to ensure that social distancing protocols are adhered to, are the same people abetting flouters, then how are we going to progress in the fight against the pandemic.
Controversial politician and founder of the All People’s Congress (APC), Hassan Ayariga, aptly summarised the indiscipline when he said: “After the lockdown was lifted, Ghanaians rushed to town like caged animals freed from their cages."
The Coronavirus disease is so swift in spreading that a lack of discipline is the last thing a country that is lockdown-free needs.
A general feeling that we’ve conquered the virus
As it stands, Ghana’s COVID-19 case count has risen above the 3,000 mark, with 18 deaths recorded in the process.
For any serious country, these numbers are enough to keep citizens on red alert. In Ghana, though, the lifting of the lockdown has created a general impression that the pandemic is now firmly under control.
Not to spread fear in anyway, but it is utopia for anyone to think towards this angle. The country’s COVID-19 case count was just 132 before the lockdown was imposed. The number went up to 1,042 within the period of the partial lockdown.
At the time of writing this piece, the number of Coronavirus infections in Ghana has skyrocketed to 3,091, representing over 2,000 COVID-19 cases in the space of three weeks.
While this could largely be attributed to mass testing and clearing the backlog of tests, the bigger concern lies with the fact that many citizens have relaxed their zeal in fighting the pandemic since the lockdown was lifted.
This could be down to a lack of proper education, but when you walk around town and you see how people have let their guard down, it calls for concern.
Unfortunately, you never know who is infected until the symptoms begin to show. Even worse, the current lack of discipline leaves us all at the mercy of an infectious disease which scientifically has no proven cure.
Pulse Editorial is the opinion of the editorial team of Pulse. It does not represent the opinion of the organization Pulse.