During the two-week partial lockdown of Accra and Kumasi from Monday, March 30, the over 3.2 million residents in these areas have been advised by President Nana Akufo-Addo to only leave their homes in search of essential items or activities.
Among these essentials listed by the President are food, medicine and water.
This will be the first time under Ghana’s Fourth Republic that a President had stripped away a significant number of basic freedoms of citizens in the stead of other African countries like Rwanda and South Africa which have imposed strict curfews and shutdowns in an attempt to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Ghana currently has 137 known cases of the virus, four deaths and two recoveries.
The only activities that the average citizen will be allowed to undertake during this period will be banking transactions and the use of public toilet facilities.
As part of the lockdown, there shall be no inter-city movement of vehicles and aircraft for private or commercial purposes.
Only vehicles and aircrafts providing essential services and those carrying cargo will have some freedom to operate.
Motorists using motorbikes will not be allowed to carry any additional person whilst all intra-city passenger vehicles, such as trotros and taxis, have been directed to reduce the number of passengers.
This is in a bid to ensure appropriate social distancing and hygiene protocols.
“Additionally, all commercial vehicle stations shall observe appropriate hygiene protocols and social distancing. The Ministry of Transport has engaged the transport operators and unions in this regard,” the President noted in his address.
In the markets of the affected metropolises, only persons involved in the food value chain can operate in the markets during this period.
In effect, all persons involved in the growing, processing, and selling the food items will be able to make a living during this period.
But vendors of clothing, electrical gadgets, beauty products, among other everyday items, will not be able to trade for the 14 days of the lockdown.
On the operations of persons in the food value chain, the President said the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has also engaged with the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies and the leaders of the market associations in the country to make satisfactory arrangements about the operation of the markets that ensure observance of social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols.
Other workers who will be able to head to their jobs come Monday will be persons aligned to the production, distribution and marketing of food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, medicine, paper and plastic packages, environmental and sanitation activities, road and railway construction workers, members of the security agencies, workers at fuel stations and staff of utility, telecommunications, e-commerce and digital service providers.
In addition, all members of the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary shall be exempt from the restrictions.