Adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols in the Tamale Metropolis and Sagnerigu Municipality of the Northern Region is very low, as many residents continue disregarding directives to wear face masks in public, regularly wash their hands with soap under running water, as well as use alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
Despite attempts at increased enforcement by security personnel owing to the sharp rise in infections and active cases, many residents have been observed going about their business with disregard for the protocols.
Some institutions have stopped enforcing the ‘No Mask, No Entry’ stipulation, with food vendors being the biggest culprits; while some institutions have ceremonious Veronica buckets placed at the entrance of their offices without water and soap.
Social distancing is largely ignored – especially at crowded places such as markets, bus stations, catering services and on the streets.
The case is scarcely different with the resumption of schools, as pupils and students from the kindergarten to tertiary levels are seen without masks and crammed into small spaces – with some parents and students expressing great concern over the possibility of another lockdown and its potential effect on academic work as well productivity in the country.
Inasmuch as the number of active cases is rising – with government reintroducing restrictions and warning that another lockdown could ensue, the general tenor appears to be that of indifference.
Visits to the Tamale Teaching Hospital, Tamale West and Central Hospitals, the central and Aboabo Markets, University for Development Studies (UDS) Nyankpala and Dungu campuses, Tamale Technical University (TaTU), basic and senior high schools confirmed the trend.
In the schools, some teachers told the B&FT they have been asked by the Ghana Education Service (GES) not to respond to the media on any issue regarding COVID-19.
A resident in Tamale, Samuel Nii Sowah, in an interview with the B&FT stressed the need for greater enforcement of punitive measures to serve as deterrent for all to comply with the protocols.
“I don’t understand why people should fail to comply with the directives despite the increase in infections and rising mortality rate, with government threatening to lockdown the country if we fail to comply with the directives,” he said.
Similarly, a clergyman at the Tamale East Church of Christ, George Dassah, expressed worry about the disregard for observing COVID-19 protocols in the metropolis – and therefore appealed for all to take personal responsibility in ensuring they themselves are not infected, or serve as conduits that pass on the disease. FIN