Prof. Agyeman Badu Akosa - Former Director-General, Ghana Health Service
A former Director-General of the Ghana Health Service, Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa has expressed disappointment over President Nana Akufo-Addo’s decision to lift the lockdown imposed on the Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Areas.
According to him, the inadequate testing centres and upsurge in COVID-19 cases in the country defeat government’s decision to lift the lockdown.
While speaking on the matter in an interview, Prof. Akosa said:
“looking at the science of this whole distribution of COVID-19, one will realize that it has moved from the centre, Accra, towards the periphery…Even with our cases, there was still a lot of backlog in testing which we felt was not good enough [to warrant the lifting of the lockdown]. We needed a situation where more centres could have come online.”
In anticipation of the President’s nation’s address on COVID-19 update on Sunday, April 19, 2020, Prof. Akosa said he had expected an extension of the lockdown at least by two more weeks to enhance contact tracing of persons believed to have come into contact persons who tested positive for the virus.
“I expected probably two weeks to the end of April and I expected that at least all regional capitals should have been locked down as well,” he said.
On the contrary President Nana Akufo-Addo on Sunday lifted the lockdown but maintained restrictions on public gatherings as efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
President’s Akufo-Addo’s decision to lift the lockdown has been met with mixed reactions saying, an extension should have been made with other thinking otherwise.
Deputy Minister of Health, Okoe Boye disagrees
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye who also spoke on the Point of View defended the decision to lift the lockdown.
Lifting of lockdown a bad idea – Member of NDC’s COVID-19 Team
A public Health Specialist and member of the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) COVID-19 Technical Team, Dr Prosper Akambong earlier argued that President Nana Akufo-Addo’s decision to lift the partial lockdown was hasty.
In an interview on Monday, April 20, 2020, Dr Prosper Akambong said the President should have rather extended the lockdown to other areas that have confirmed cases of COVID-19.
“Lifting the lockdown is not a good idea because the government is only doing contact tracing and the cases are rising at the time that they are lifting this sanction. And these contact traces are only primary contacts and because of the delay in some of the results that are coming from the primary contacts, the primary contacts have also contacted primary contacts, tertiary contacts and quaternary contacts. So you just can’t test a few people and think that because your curve appears to be flattening you should lift the restrictions, I don’t think so,” he said.
Dr Akambong also indicated that the best option was to embark on a mass testing exercise before lifting the lockdown.
‘A careful balance of many factors led to the lifting of lockdown’ – Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has also explained that the decision to lift the partial lockdown was taken after careful consideration of several factors.
According to him the country’s current capacity “to trace victims of this disease, being able to test, being able to isolate and quarantine those people so that we take them out of the population, and, of course, the treatment”, are some of the factors that led to the decision to lift the partial lockdown.
Again, the President added that:
“We are also looking at the demography of the disease itself, in terms of the sick, in terms of death. What we will like to do, as decision-makers, is to balance all these factors and to come to a conclusion and a set of solutions that will benefit our people and of course, protect the economy of our country. All of these have been the basket of issues that have led us to take this decision.”