President Nana Akufo-Addo has declared a partial lockdown of Accra and Kumasi effective 1 am on Monday, March 30, 2020.
The lockdown which affects Accra, Tema and Kumasi will last for two weeks.
The decision according to the President is to help curb the spread of the coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) which has led to four deaths and infected some 137 people.
President Nana Akufo-Addo made the declaration in a national address late Friday evening, March 27, 2020.
“The oath of office I swore on February 2017 demands that I dedicate myself to the service of Ghanaian people. It is my job to protect you and I am determined to do just that. All what the government is doing is seeking to achieve five targets….we have succeeded in stopping the importation of the disease into the country.”
“However, prevailing circumstances mean stricter measures need to be put in place to stop the spread of the virus in-country in Accra, Tema, Kasoa and Kumasi,” he said.
Restrictions to stop COVID-19 spread
The rising cases of Coronavirus in the country heightened calls for Ghana to declare a lockdown in order to stop the spread.
Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah had earlier said various options including a lockdown were being considered by the government as a next step in tackling the outbreak.
President Nana Akufo-Addo in response to such calls said although a lockdown decision remains an option, extensive consultations will be made to ensure that any decision the government takes, will be in the right direction.
Finance Minister directed to assess economic impact of potential lockdown
President Nana Akufo-Addo had earlier instructed the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to conduct an economic impact assessment of potential lockdown measures on the country.
“The President has instructed the Minister responsible for Finance to build the economic impact assessment which he did about two or three weeks ago and even presented parts of it to Parliament,” Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said on Wednesday.
“But he has also instructed him to work out the implications of any further measures on the economy and how to put in place economic measures, what people call a stimulus programme to ensure that these measures do not adversely hurt the economy.”
The Information Minister added that “all things being equal, once he is done, he [the Finance Minister] will brief the nation through Parliament on the economic measures being used there.”
IGP withdraws lockdown operation order to personnel
The Inspector-General of Police earlier on Friday withdrew an order directing his personnel to be on standby for a lockdown operation in Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Obuasi over the novel coronavirus pandemic.
An internal police communiqué sighted by Citi News said that “further directives on the contents will be issued in due course.”
An earlier document from the police which went viral on social media indicated that the Ghana Police Service was putting a strategy in place for a lockdown.
The police were to be supported by the Ghana Armed Forces, the Ghana Immigration Service and the Bureau of National Investigation.
The joint operation highlighted a number of roads and areas that were to be “sealed” during the lockdown.
In Accra for example, the Accra to Winneba route, the Accra to Kumasi route, the Accra to Akropong route and the Accra to Dodowa route, among others were cited for blocking by security personnel.
In its threat analysis, the police service noted that there was the possibility of “agitations and adverse reactions against the lockdown order.”
It also said there was “the likelihood of criminal elements taking advantage of the lockdown to loot businesses, stores and shops.”
There were to be 24/7 roadblocks and snap checkpoints to ensure compliance with the lockdown.
The police were also to conduct “robust day and night patrols to enforce directives” per their strategy.