The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has welcomed the government’s decision to lift the ban on the restriction of movements in parts of the country.
It, however, said Ghanaians must strictly adhere to the preventive and safety protocols in order not to contract the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.
Speaking in an interview, the Director of Elections and Research, Mr Evans Nimako, said it was important that Ghanaians exercised restraint and rallied behind the government and health authorities to bring the pandemic under control.
“What is important is for us all to support the government to contain the pandemic. If we all join the fight to win the war against COVID-19, it is the country that wins and not any individual,” he said.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders, including political parties to come on board and accept the challenge to defeat COVID-19, stressing “we have one Ghana and we cannot afford to lose focus”.
Mr Nimako acknowledged the distortion of activities of political parties as a result of the imposition of the restriction of movement that banned all political and religious activities and social gatherings.
He, however, expressed the hope that when the ban was lifted, the parties would quickly go to the drawing board to outline new schedules.
“What is important is to support the government now to contain the pandemic. We believe the President is offering excellent leadership in dealing with it. He needs our support in this fight,” he stated.
The Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Mr Bernard Mornah, said it would ease the burden of hunger and bring great relief to many Ghanaians who were affected by the partial lockdown.
He explained that although the government had initiated programmes to attend to vulnerable people, many of them had not been reached.
He noted nonetheless that lifting the partial lockdown could also come with dire consequences for the country, as many people did not adhere to directives even during the period of restrictions.
Mr Mornah again wondered how, for instance, drivers were going to comply with the directive on the number of passengers they are to carry while ensuring social distancing now that there are no security checks in place.
He also called for accountability regarding freebies announced by the President such as tanker water supply to communities without water.
The acting Chairperson of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Hajia Hamdatu Ibrahim, said the party believed the President had been well-informed by the various intelligence agencies on national life – social, cultural, economic, agriculture, security and health.
“The decision and advice given is, therefore, to be taken in the national interest. One key point to take from the President’s address is the shared responsibility we individually have to take to make the fight against the pandemic, a success,” she stated.
She said the CPP would continue to encourage Ghanaians to adhere to the directives on maintaining hygienic standards, staying away from crowds, staying at home and ensuring good upkeep of the body systems.
“We really, really need to be extra, extra careful and most diligent in everything now with the lifting of the lockdown,” she said, adding that “this is most challenging times for all humankind.”
Hajia Ibrahim urged Ghanaians to stay safe and continue not only social distancing but more importantly, “physical distancing. Your destiny is in your hands.”
The General Secretary of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Mr Murtala Mohammed, said the party could not fault the government for its decision to lift the partial lockdown.
“Indeed, our social setting does not even allow for implementation of the lockdown. We cannot fault the government for its decision a day after the announcement.
“We need to give the decision taken by the President some time to see how it will affect the people either positively or negatively,” he added.
Mr Mohammed said the President and the government had all the information from the experts and the decision was taken based on the information at hand.
“But most importantly, people must adhere to the social distancing protocol, practice personal hygiene and report to the hospital as and when they show symptoms of COVID-19,” he added.
On its part, the National Democratic Congress, said the lifting of the restrictions were premature and dangerous and would most likely result in a significant escalation in the number of cases beyond the 1042, as stated by government.
“Our position is that the virus is not yet under adequate control in Ghana to merit any ease of restrictions on movement at this time. We are mindful of the fact that a backlog of tests from samples of about 10,000 took us from 600+ cases to 1000+ cases.
“With over 18,000+ samples yet to be tested, there is a higher probability that our cases may surge as we are yet to get to our peak. We believe these backlog samples are from primary or secondary contacts who have in turn made several contacts in the chain of human interactions and whose test results are yet to be ascertained,” it said in a statement signed by the chairman of the COVID-19 technical team, Mr Prosper Bani.
The statement said looking at the return to activities defying the basic social distancing protocols as recommended, “we put ourselves in a very precarious situation for a potential second wave of infections.“