The entry of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) has shaken the world. Even though it is the weakest of the Deadly Four, Ebola, MERS, SARS & Covid-19, it has really proven to the world that the God we now seem not to regard and acknowledge, and now take for granted, as is portraying in the lives and conducts of some men and women of religion, can just release something small to make us sit up and think.
In Ghana, when the pandemic broke out in Asia and Europe, the Nana Akufo-Addo administration, through the Ministry of Health, started serious screenings at all ports of entry. His opponents never acknowledged him, but a British citizen spoke highly of Ghana and put us tops, well ahead of his own country.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) did all it could to incite Ghanaians to force the President to repatriate all Ghanaian students studying in China and bring them home. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo listened to the voice of God and allowed our students to remain. Yesterday, I called a friend whose daughter is in a university in Wuhan, China. He told me the young lady is rather sympathising with us back home, because of the surge in persons affected by the virus here. None of the students, foreign and local, had died. I am not sure whether any was infected by the virus. All the same, whether some contracted the Covid-19 and later recovered, today every student in China is hale and healthy.
Assuming, the President allowed our students to come home, and on their way they interacted with people with the disease, and come home as carriers? When the president first addressed the nation about the virus and set aside $100 million for prevention among others, he was mocked. The worse came when two days later we recorded two affected persons. A professor at a university made a sad statement that was meant to incite people to think that the government had set up a plan to embezzle the money. That statement was completely uncalled for at a time like this. The university don and Dean of School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana, Professor Kofi Agyekum, could have applied his knowledge and wisdom and suggested how best the money can be utilised.
When the President came a second time, to, this time round, shut down social gatherings, hence, closing down on worships in churches and mosques, extending it to funeral gatherings and limiting any social gathering to twenty-five persons, a man of God, who never read in the Sacred Scriptures about the Christian rule to obey authority, decided to test mankind and prove that his God is able. He violated the ban and went ahead to conduct a church service, and was arrested.
All these while, people who oppose anything the President says or does, went on ridiculing him. On social media, we were told that while some countries had set trillions and billions aside for this virus, Ghana was talking about the using of hand sanitisers.
The President’s third broadcast came with a more serious plan. All our ports of entry were to be closed for two weeks from mid-night the next Sunday. All passengers to enter the country were to be quarantined for two weeks.
About 1,038 travellers have been quarantined in top class hotels, and with this, some I-Know-My-Right Ghanaian travellers, who were quarantined, appeared on social media, brandishing “invisible copies of the 1992 Constitution,” and educating the security guards on their rights. One claimed that their rooms were untidy, and I asked? “Who should tidy your room when you are quarantined for fear of Covid-19? Clearly, violating the rules by not observing the social distancing orders, these Ghanaians, at least, four of them, had gathered on a balcony lecturing the security guards and even threatening to tell their story on Adom FM.
While this was going on, another traveller, a Nigerian, was full of praise for the Ghanaian administration for keeping them in a well secured and very decent and neat hotel at the cost of $500 a night. He went on to show the packed lunch he was given: full grilled chicken in a pack and another pack full of jollof rice. I guess it must be Nigerian jollof rice to make our visitor feel at home.
And then a very grateful Ghanaian traveller, who has also been quarantined, produced a video clip of the conditions she was in at her hotel room in Accra City Hotel. The bed was comfortable, she said, and she got three square meals a day with snacks in between. The 24 hours of television and Wifi were just too much for her as someone who was quarantined but made to feel like she was on holidays. She spoke highly of the government and was full of praises for the top professional conduct of the staff of the hotel. Meanwhile, some of her country folks under the same conditions were throwing tantrums in their hotel.
With $500 a night, bed and breakfast, the state will pay, at least, $7,000 per traveller, not including lunch and supper, healthcare and other miscellaneous expenses. For the 1,038 travellers, at least, $7,266,000 will be set aside.
And, mind you, after all is done, and with Covid-19 bidding the world the most welcomed farewell, these hotels will have to be heavily compensated, so that they will get all their rooms, the whole buildings and compounds well fumigated, and made healthy and wholesome for their next guests.
While all these things are going on, with the President listening to good advice from his appointees and experts, and taking sound decisions to help reduce the spread on this virus, the NDC decided to broadcast to the world that all the President is doing is just to find ways to rig the next General Elections. I guess this political party will be very content if nothing is done and people start dying in their tens of thousands.
As I am writing this feature, it is Thursday March 26, 2020, the 26th Day of Lent, 2020, and as at 11:24 Hrs GMT, Ghana has recorded 132 confirmed cases with three deaths. Two days earlier, we had 68 confirmed cases with two deaths. Alarming? Well not really, because 78 of the 132 infected persons (almost 60%) were among the travellers quarantined in the expensive hotels. And with more tests are going on, we do not know when the figures will stabilise.
Assuming the President was not wise enough to take this expensive decision to quarantine the travellers, we shall have, at least, 78 people roaming the length and breadth of this country spreading the virus. The ripple effect could make Ghana exceed 7,800 affected persons within a fortnight, and may record 468 deaths.
This is the time that those who dislike or hate the President should endeavour to be humble and praise him. Compared to other African countries, Ghana is the ninth largest economy on the continent, with a GDP of $68 billion. With her widow’s mite of $100 million, Ghana has been able to do greater and more effective things that even Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, with a GDP of $447 billion which it has not been able to attempt.
This is what one can achieve with humility and wisdom. Nothing big, nothing extravagant, nothing to show the world how great one is, but using faith in God and with wisdom the size of the proverbial mustard seed, our President is able to achieve greater results than even those with excess wealth.
This visitation of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) has made the President demonstrate that he truly cares for the welfare of his people, and years after he is long gone, Ghana will be celebrated in the international community for our role in managing this deadly virus. Thanks be to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
This calls for celebration and jubilation that sooner, when Covid-19 departs, people all over the world will talk about Ghana in a good light. Perhaps, if President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had earlier implemented the Compulsory 14 Day Quarantine of all travellers, during his first broadcast the number of affected persons, it would have reduced drastically. Well, better late than never, since, as it is, the higher figures of infected, about 60%, (the figure was 56% only yesterday) were from those quarantined.
People are calling for total lockdown for at least two weeks, but some are saying, with the kind of housing facilities we have, can there be an effective lockdown with a human face? What happens to those without toilet facilities immediately within their abode? What about rather shutting down shops, markets, offices and social centers? Also what about banning movements between towns and cities? These can drastically reduce the movement of people.
Whatever happens, there is a need to remind those who dislike the President that if they cannot praise him, then they must praise God instead. We need to come together, shedding off all political, ethnic, academic and social status differences and tackle this disease. Any idea can be brought on board, it can be tried. People are talking about using Chloroquine-based drugs, because they were tested in the US and proven effective. We can try it as well as other local commodities that are suggested, the neem tree products, other herbs, including local gin distilled from palm wine that the Lord put in our land to cure all ailments. If the White Man cannot find a cure, we have to look at the things God gave and gives to us to find the cure.
Going forward, I will suggest that Ghana takes a good look at health and develop a system to match any top world health system. Top of the art hospital facilities must be put up with urgency, and lots of funds put into traditional medicine to produce the most effective drugs from our local herbs. Another area of research should go into fighting diseases that seem to have no cure for the illnesses they generate.
Meanwhile, in all this, all rational Ghanaians living everywhere must salute the President for he has proven, as Nigerians say, to be the best in Africa.
From Hon Daniel Dugan
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