There has been some hue and cry from certain quarters that the country should adopt a total lockdown as is currently occurring in some advanced economies. The World Bank has refuted this line of thinking arguing that measures such as lock downs used to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic by many advanced countries may not work in Africa.
Majority of Africa’s workforce are found in the informal sector and that makes it even more daunting since many have to be the streets hustling to make ends meet. It is against this background that the World Bank is cautioning against such copy-cat models that may bring untold hardships on people and businesses on the continent.
The World Bank says Africa should develop what it calls a ‘two-pronged strategy’ of saving lives and protecting livelihoods. It is based on such considerations that Ghana adopted a partial lockdown to give some space to those who have to fend for themselves by selling foodstuffs etc.
Deputy Health Minister-designate, Dr Benard Okoe-Boye, justified government’s decision to implement a partial lockdown instead of a total national lockdown during his vetting in parliament yesterday, and we believe looking at the country’s unique situation, many are bound to concur with his position.
Dr. Okoe-Boye believes the measure put in place by government is sufficient to manage the spread and he demonstrated this when he provided a graph to demonstrate how the number of cases are gradually being contained.
Most Ghanaian workers can be found in the informal sector any a total lockdown would have put a strain on efforts by the state to reach the most vulnerable with food and other essentials. Even with the partial lockdown, there has been a lot of discomfort for the most vulnerable who cannot earn a living to put food on their table and can be found scrambling for government hand-outs of food.
Identifying these groups would have been a tall order since most residents do not have addresses and street numbers and cannot be easily located. Let us give our duty bearers the benefit of the doubt since they have access to the best professional advice at their disposal.