The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has joined calls for the government to declare a nationwide lockdown to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
That, it explained, was because of the way and manner COVID-19 was spreading at breakneck speed, creating a severe public health emergency and its potential negative impact on families and businesses.
As of April 6, 2020, Ghana’s coronavirus case count had risen to 287, with five deaths.
A statement signed by the National Chairman of the PPP, Nii Allotey Brew-Hammond, said in locking down the entire country, “we recommend a three-month waiver on electricity bills (GH¢300/month cap for households and GH¢500/month cap for commercial entities), since free and continuous access to water and electricity are necessities in our fight against the coronavirus,” it suggested.
It said the best option was to stop the infection in both directions from spreading.
In line with that, it recommended that if surgical masks were limited in supply and the government could not distribute them freely to all Ghanaians, “then people who do not work in the healthcare sector should stick to fabric masks, like the ones people are sewing at home.”
It expressed its happiness with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s decision to absorb the water bills of all Ghanaians for the next three months.
It said the President’s directive to the Ghana Water Company Ltd and the Electricity Company of Ghana “to ensure stable supply of water and electricity during this period and mobilising all water tankers, publicly and privately-owned, to ensure the supply of water to all vulnerable communities” was commendable.
The statement recalled the party’s press release of March 24, 2020 in which it appealed to the government to waive water and electricity bills to enable many Ghanaians to have access to those essential social products.
“We had noticed that while washing hands is one of the most powerful safety measures to fight COVID-19, WaterAid gives a staggering figure of over eight in every 10 Ghanaians not having access to decent toilet facilities, and one out of every five of the population not having clean water,” it said.
The statement urged the President to ensure that the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) which the Finance Minister presented to Parliament, with the objective of protecting households and jobs, was managed transparently and for the benefit of all citizens.
It reminded Ghanaians to wash their hands with soap and water regularly, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and maintain at least two meters (6 feet) distance from others.
“Additionally, we encourage all healthy Ghanaians to continue donating blood to the National Blood Bank while following the proper precautions to help us avoid a life-threatening blood shortage,” it said.
The statement said that was the best opportunity “for us to take off our competitive blinders and put on our compassionate lenses by supporting our own indigenous businesses with stimulus packages. The best time to build and not to destroy is now.”