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‘Don’t ignore COVID-19 protocols, disease still active’

BY: Dotsey Koblah Aklorbortu
 Some passengers boarding buses without face masks in Takoradi
Some passengers boarding buses without face masks in Takoradi

COVID-19 cases in the Western Region are resurfacing after months of zero cases.

The region’s situation report as of last Friday indicated 48 active cases from three areas.

Out of the active cases, 38 have been reported in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis, six in the Effia Kwesimintsim municipality and two in the Ellembelle District.

Cases

The latest case list brings the positive cases recorded in the region to 3,203 and out of which 3,140 have recovered, with 15 deaths.

The first COVID-19 cases were recorded in the Shama District in April last year when some expatriates returned to their work place.

The cases in the region between September to the middle of November have been zero. However, positive cases resurfaced on daily basis and went down again in early December.

Health officials are, therefore, warning members of the public to be mindful and respect COVID-19 protocols, especially in public transport, churches, markets and other public places.

“Before the Christmas and New Year celebrations, from December 20, last year to last Friday, the trend does not look good, hence the need to warn the public,” a source at the Regional Health Services Directorate, who pleaded anonymity, told the Daily Graphic.

Be mindful

The source urged residents of the region as well as visitors that the pandemic was still active hence the need to follow all the safety protocols such as the wearing of face masks, using hand sanitisers,washing of hands under running water and observing social distancing.

It added that even though there were enough reagents for testing at all the regional testing centres and frontline health personnel were constantly on the lookout, “there is the need for the public to be cautious and observe all the safety protocols.”

The Daily Graphic’s investigations revealed that people are no longer wearing the face masks, observing the hand washing and there were defective hand hygiene equipment at many places visited, with some Veronica buckets not having water or soap in the dispensers.

At the Takoradi Central Market, popularly known as Market Circle, due to the pending reconstruction, traders were all over the streets with complete disregard for the COVID-19 safety protocols.

Markets

The situation at markets around the Jubilee Park at West Tanokrom, Apremdo, Kojokrom and Sekondi markets, also showed that traders were not adhering to the safety protocols.

Both buyers and traders in those markets were without face masks, no soaps and water at the entrances for hand washing as a requirement before one entered the market.

At both local and inter-city transport terminals, only the State Transport Company (STC) ensures that passengers enter their premises with face masks on and made to follow the hand hygiene protocol before boarding.

Passengers on board ‘trotros’ and other public transport in the metropolis do not wear masks or follow the protocols. Some vehicles even take more passengers than the required number, there is no hand washing nor the use of sanitisers.

Passengers

Some of the passengers, who spoke to the Daily Graphic, removed their nose masks from their bags and exhibited them.

One of the them, Ms Cynthia Mills, said : “I was late to the market, I even forgot to pick it, I will wear it next time.”

Managers and drivers at various bus terminals said they were tired of telling their adult passengers what to do.

A trotro driver, Mr Kwabena K. Amamoo, said although he had a face mask, he sometimes forgot to wear it.

“I must be honest, I don’t remember to wear it – for my passengers, these are adults and I am surprised we have to remind them always and we are tired."