A public Health Specialist and a member of the National Democratic Congress’ (NDC) COVID-19 Technical Team, Dr Prosper Akambong says President Nana AkufoAddo’s decision to lift the partial lockdown on some parts of the country was hasty.
The President on Sunday lifted the lockdown imposed on Kasoa, Greater Kumasi and Greater Accra metropolitan areas whilst maintaining restrictions on public gatherings.
The decision has since been greeted with mixed reactions.
In an interview on the Citi Breakfast Show, 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.
“Even within that period, the best option we should have done was to do mass testing within the lockdown period when everybody was inside. If we wanted to extend or lift it, the best was to do mass testing. So if you do the mass testing and you see your curve flattening, then you have a reason to say the curve is dipping then you can lift off your restriction. So the mass testing will include giving everyone who wants to test the chance to test and not just those who have symptoms or who are contacts of people who have tested positive,” he argued.
Dr Akanbong debated strongly that the lifting of the lockdown will make contact tracing very difficult for health professionals.
“Lifting the ban makes it difficult to even get your primary contacts and other contacts because they are moving around freely even though the other restrictions may be in place. If you lockdown and I am a primary contact, you will just come to my house but once the lockdown is lifted and you come and I have moved out, then the contact tracers have to look for me wherever I have moved to.”
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Sunday, April 19, 2020, announced the suspension of the partial lockdown imposed on the Greater Accra and Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Areas effective today, Monday.
The decision comes on the back of an upsurge in the number of Coronavirus cases recorded within the last few weeks.
The announcement has been met with mixed reactions. Whereas some people argue that the decision was premature, others think otherwise.
Below are the reasons President Akufo-Addo gave for lifting the lockdown:
1. Ability to undertake aggressive contact tracing of infected persons
2. Enhancement of our capacity to test
3. Expansion in the numbers of our treatment and isolation centres
4. Our better understanding of the dynamism of the virus
5. Ramping up of our domestic capacity to produce our own personal protective equipment sanitisers and medicines
6. Modest successes chalked at containing the spread of the virus in Accra and Kumasi
7. The severe impact on the poor and vulnerable