Last Saturday, driving through Aburi to Akropong, I encountered celebrants and mourners. At one mourning ground, on a park, there were more than 100 chairs.
Right ahead was a crowd of celebrants who were entering a recreational spot for a wedding reception.
It was midday and the funeral grounds looked deserted, it was evident that there had been some drizzle. I wondered, however, the numbers of people gathered on the park before it started drizzling, judging by the number of chairs beneath the dozen canopies erected.
Those loitering had no masks. For the wedding company, it was all closeness and chatter, as they made their way to the reception. None wore a mask.
I surveyed the facility where the wedding reception was taking place, but saw no washing facility for people to wash their hands. It was as if COVID-19 did not exist.
In his last address to Ghanaians on February 28, 2021, on the roll out of vaccines from the COVAX Facility, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said: “Fellow Ghanaians, the roll out of the vaccination campaign does not mean we should let our guard down and discard the safety protocols that have served as well thus far. We cannot afford to let our guard down! Let us continue to wash our hands under running water, maintain social distancing, refrain from shaking hands and hugging, and most importantly, wear our masks.
“So until further notice all the restrictions as announced in my last address remains in force and the police will continue to ensure compliance by all and sundry.”
In the past week too, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has also been expressing worry about increasing infections across the world.
Not vaccines alone…
The Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in his opening remarks at 7th COVID-19 Emergency Committee meeting on April 15, 2021 said: “Of course, vaccines alone will not stop this pandemic.”
At another meeting on Member State Information Session on COVID-19 on the same day, he stated: “Around the world, cases and deaths are increasing at worrying rates. .. “This is being driven by a combination of rapidly-spreading variants, increased social mixing,... “We have the tools in hand to control the pandemic, but every country must apply them consistently.”
Then, at a Special Ministerial Meeting on A Vaccine for All, on April 16, 2021, he stated: “We must continue to encourage people to take the personal precautions to keep themselves and others safe: physical distancing, masks, hand hygiene and ventilation. The whole response should be everybody’s business. We may sound like a broken record, but these measures work.”
Increasingly, it is becoming evident that vaccines alone cannot fight COVID-19. Yes, we all need to be vaccinated; however, vaccinations do not mean the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will take the consistent application of all the health protocols to completely stave off the scourge.
The President has spoken, but are the police ensuring “compliance by all and sundry?”
As the President said, the COVID-19 restrictions announced in his 23 update on January 31, 2021 are still in force.
In that address he banned funerals, weddings and theatrical performances. Private burials of no more than 25 people were permitted, with the strict enforcement of the social protocols, mask wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene.
Is it that the President says, but his men and women do not do?
Dr Ghebreyesus calls for consistency in the application of the measures and protocols.
Yes, there must be some consistency in Ghana’s fight.
Those with the responsibility of ensuring adherence to the President’s directives must act now consistently in ensuring adherence to protocols!