Editorial : Phased easing of restrictions will bounce economy back to life

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The President’s long-awaited 10th COVID-19 address was delivered on Sunday, May, 31 and much to everyone’s expectation, some of the COVID-19 restrictions were eased, paving the way for a revival of the economy after a three-month long hiatus.

Restaurants, schools and religious events have been given the green light to operate but with social distancing and other health protocols in place. The President announced that Ghana’s coronavirus cases have reached 8070 which have spiked significantly, and admitted that with the phased easing of restrictions, the numbers could still spiral upwards.

That notwithstanding, the President was quick to admit that the country cannot remain in a lockdown in perpetuity, hence the phased easing of restrictions to return the country to normalcy. However, even though some would believe the easing of the restrictions have come to soon, the President was quick to announce that regulatory agencies will undertake regular checks to ensure conformity with the new directives which only goes to prove that government is not resting on its oars.

Though the country’s air, land and sea borders remain closed to general human traffic until further notice, the President indicated that a “special dispensation is going to be given to evacuate Ghanaians stranded abroad.

“They will be subjected to the mandatory quarantine and safety protocols on their arrival in the country”, President Akufo-Addo assured.

It is significant to note that the President only lifted the ban on educational institutions for final year students to return and study for their respective exit examinations. He also explained that final year university students are to report to their universities on June 15.

As part of the requirements, the President indicated that the Ministry of Education is to provide students, teaching and non-teaching staff with re-usable face masks to help adhere to the protocols recommended by health experts.

The President however indicated that he has extended the suspension of the remaining public gatherings, as set out in E.I. 64 of 15th March, until 31st July.

“I refer to the suspension of sporting events, nightclubs, cinemas, drinking spots, bars, beaches, festivals, funerals, political rallies, and large religious gatherings such as crusades, pilgrimages and conventions”.

Broadly speaking, though others have expressed some apprehension about the easing of restrictions as the number of infections spike upward, the gradual easing will see the economy bounce back to life which is also critical to any meaningful progress.

Besides, it was undertaken based on consensus from key stakeholders and shows the general mood in the country.

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