Not Tough Enough To Deter

With the disclosure by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) about the increased circulation of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in local communities, the need for more stringent measures to enforce the existing protocols have become even more exigent.

The Institute in a statement in which it pressed the alarm button demanded of the government to take another look at the presidential directives. What the NMIMR did not add was the fact that the directives are lame and not being enforced.

The 26th update by the President coming after an alarm button had been pressed by the research institute put non-COVID skeptics on edge. In fact we expected the release of drastic measures such as deploying law enforcement personnel into town to compel all persons to abide by the protocols with particular reference to the nose masks.

That was not to be as the President as usual expecting his compatriots to watch the data and be responsible enough to protect themselves and others through a strict adherence to the science-latched protocol, only reinforced the existence of his directives.

Knowing ourselves too well, there is no reason to trust us to do the right thing. It is about discipline and we lack this virtue to the extent of adhering to the protocols.

The request to the President by the NMIMR to re-look the directives was a subtle way of telling the President that the noose must be tightened somewhat so COVID-19, especially the new variant, is kept at bay.

Faith bodies, identifiable groups such as the GPRTU and many others should be marked and contacted for a conversation to seek their cooperation. This should be complemented with strict enforcement by law enforcement officers.

At lorry stations drivers should be educated on the importance of having only masked passengers board their vehicles. This is where the GPRTU comes in.

Passengers onboard commercial vehicles must be able to compel non-face mask wearing colleagues to wear them. Failure to have this done, they should threaten to alight. After all it is about their health. The Delta variant, the experts say, is more transmissible than its forebear, the infamous COVID-19, a fact largely lost to most Ghanaians.

With the devastating consequences of lockdowns known to the President and not wanting to go on that tangent again, it behooves him to apply every available measure that can compel us to adhere to the protocols. There is no option to such adherence and so cracking the whip which the President is avoiding rather subtly, should be the last resort which is due.

Even while taking issues with the President’s soft approach on this score, we cannot close our eyes to his wonderful efforts in putting Ghana on a vaccine production mode. With our world-acclaimed status in COVID-19 management, making Ghana a hub of COVID-19 vaccine production would be such a high-notched achievement.