Government cannot afford a total lockdown – Majority Leader in parliament
Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu - Majority Leader in Parliament
Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has responded to calls from some civil society organisations and individuals for the government of Ghana to declare a total lockdown.
The majority leader believes calls for a total lockdown in this pandemic is inappropriate considering the cost involved in total lockdown.
According to him, Ghana cannot afford a total lockdown because the country is not financially ready although it is a significant step in containing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Speaking in an interview, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the government was already investing so much during the partial lockdown period, hence a total lockdown will be disastrous.
One of the factors he explained is that such lockdown will create a lot of inconveniences, adding that the majority of Ghanaians will be affected if implemented.
He hinted that though President Akufo-Addo is deliberating on it, he believes the country is not ready for total lockdown.
“Though the President is taking expert advice on a total lockdown or not, I really don’t think we need it now as a country. Albeit, the country needs to rigorously fight COVID-19, we cannot do so by totally locking the whole country down. We will end up putting the economy in great difficulty.”
“Moreover, look at how people are reeling under this partial lockdown and the government is investing so much to feed the few vulnerable people in our various communities,” he continued.
Mr Kyei-Mensah again added that:
“the government will have to invest so much in feeding over five million people and I don’t think the country’s economy will be able to bounce back after the COVID-19 fight.”
Three factors to consider before extending or calling off partial lockdown
Meanwhile, Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has said the government would consider certain factors in the coming days to either extend or call-off the partial lockdown.
“One, how much of your case count is coming from the enhanced surveillance which gives you a fair idea of how far you are going ahead, it will not tell you exactly whether you are ahead but how far, through the enhanced surveillance you are finding asymptomatic which suggest early days of exposure and they are becoming the majority and it will give you an indication that you have moved beyond people with symptoms.”
“Two, positive cases outside your hot spot, so Greater Accra, Greater Kumasi where you have sought to contain, how many positive cases are you getting outside these hotspots which positive cases can be reasonably traced to having exited the hot spot during this period because this data will inform the theory whether indeed,” the minister noted
Also, Mr Nkrumah added that:
“The socio-economic of the lockdown, the calls that are coming you will see an increasing number of calls about food and perhaps even less about PPEs it gives you a certain idea about the socio-economic of the lockdown.”
However, Mr Oppong Nkrumah has said that under no circumstance will decision by the President in this period not be in the collective interest of Ghanaians.