Covid-19

COVID-19: Lockdown only affected cities — PHC advises Gov’t

A recommendation has gone to the government to consider locking down only the cities where reported cases of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic have tested positive in Ghana.

The Public Health Consult, an organisation of Dutch-trained Ghanaian public health professionals with vast knowledge in global and public health-related issues, gave the recommendation in a press statement issued on Thursday by its Public Relations Officer, Atta Nyarko.

Whilst urging government to enforce the ban on public gatherings and the directive on social distancing strictly, the organisation also advised that the proposed lockdown should be “controlled”, “strategic” and effected “now”.

“We at Public Health Consult, however, believe that the lockdown should be controlled and strategic. Fortunately In the case of Ghana, two (2) out of sixteen (16) administrative regions have recorded confirmed cases of the virus. A lockdown of these affected cities or regions will likely be easier to manage compared to locking down the whole country in the event of countrywide record of confirmed cases.

“By controlled lockdown, we call for the government to put in the strictest means to ensure that immigration and emigration into these cities are controlled. We also encourage the government to ask all workers in affected regions or cities to start working from home whilst only few essential workers go to their offices. We ask the government and all concerned to come to the table to discuss how issues pertaining to this controlled lockdown could be addressed such as how and when people will be allowed to access some basic needs,” the statement said.

Below is a full copy of the statement:

COVID-19: TIME FOR A CONTROLLED LOCKDOWN IS NOW

Introduction

Ghana, just like many other African countries, is battling with the Novel Covid-19 since it recorded its first case some twelve days ago. So far, over four hundred and thirty-six thousand and twenty-four (436,024) people, as well as one hundred and ninety-five (195) countries, have been affected with more than nineteen thousand, six hundred thirty-one (19,631) deaths as of 25th March 2020 (13 GMT).

Ghana has recorded sixty-eight (68) confirmed cases with three (3) deaths over 14 days. We applaud the government for its efforts in addressing this pandemic. The President of Ghana has addressed the state on three different occasions, outlining measures to curtail further spread of the virus. The first was before the first two confirmed cases while the other two were in the midst of imported and local spread of the disease. These measures have the potential, and have probably contributed, towards slowing down the transmission of the virus.

Evidence so far

Suppression is said to be a much more effective intervention model as compared to mitigation in reducing mortalities and inundation of the health system. Measures of suppression include social distancing of the entire population, case isolation, household quarantine and school and university closure.

Countries and territories with lower burdens of confirmed Covid-19 started these suppression methods very early in the outbreak. The city of Lodi in Italy has so far recorded a much lower mortality and burden of the disease compared to the rest of the country because it implemented such measures much early in the outbreak while the rest implemented the same measures much later in the outbreak. Such lockdowns, as is being witnessed in South Korea and other countries, will require support systems that will ensure continuous provision of essentials of life. Extent of measure is sometimes guided by number of confirmed cases and whether these are imported (vertical) transmission or community (horizontal) transmission.

Unfortunately, with the record of some community transmission in Ghana, there should be a change in the focus of our preventive strategies as a country. Globally, the most robust of measures to limit spread during such times has been what has been termed as a lockdown. The challenges that come with such lockdowns largely depend on the size of population involved and other security issues. It should be noted that lockdowns usually further reduce access of the vulnerable to food, water, toiletries and other essential services unless such interventions are supported by social intervention. Many are those who have joined the call for a lockdown of the country in order to address the spread of the virus.

Our Recommendations

We at Public Health Consult, however, believe that the lockdown should be controlled and strategic. Fortunately In the case of Ghana, two (2) out of sixteen (16) administrative regions have recorded confirmed cases of the virus. A lockdown of these affected cities or regions will likely be easier to manage compared to locking down the whole country in the event of countrywide record of confirmed cases.

By controlled lockdown, we call for the government to put in the strictest means to ensure that immigration and emigration into these cities are controlled. As a matter of urgency, the ban on all public gatherings and social distancing should be enforced to the letter. We also encourage the government to ask all workers in affected regions or cities to start working from home whilst only a few essential workers go to their offices. A controlled lockdown will increase the likelihood of preventing the exponential rise of cases and avoid any future need for more expensive management of more confirmed cases even in the midst of a nationwide lockdown. We ask the government and all concerned to come to the table to discuss how issues pertaining to this controlled lockdown could be addressed such as how and when people will be allowed to access some basic needs.

Conclusion

Ensuring that movements in and out of these cities are controlled, there would be a high possibility of containing the virus.  The public health consult is of the view that time is of grave essence and recommends that the best time for a control lockdown is now.

We also ask the good people of Ghana to adhere to established protocols and cooperate with the government to bring to an end to this pandemic. The Public Health Consult is prepared to support the government in every way required to quickly curb the current situation. Long live Ghana!!!

Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5FM

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