Ghana is currently facing increasing active cases of COVID-19 infections, hospitalisations, overwhelmed ICUs and deaths. Yet we are also seeing increasing non-adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols among the population, particularly in public places. The police have started enforcing existing laws by arresting offenders.

However, there are concerns about these arrests becoming super-spreader events themselves, due to lack of safer means of arrest and confinement of suspects.

There are also concerns about the existing harsh penalties (especially fines) upon conviction, which means a lot more poor people are likely to be imprisoned in our already-congested prisons, thus creating a further challenge in managing our COVID-19 crisis.

With all the above in mind, here’s a proposal for amending the law, to introduce new sanctions for COVIDIOTS that I hope may be effective and could address some of the above concerns at the same time:

  1. Institute spot fines ranging from ¢5 and ¢20.
  2. Mandatory minimum 2-hour socially-distanced ‘Standing Still’ punishment, in addition to the fines.
  3. If a person does not complete a continuous 2-hour Standing Still punishment, even after 1hr59mins, the count starts again.
  4. Once a person completes the 2-hour Standing Still punishment and pays the fine, they will be given one ‘free’ reusable mask and allowed to go home.
  5. Those who refuse or fail to complete the punishment and pay the fine are the ones who will be processed for court.
  6. The police and the media will cover these events and will be free to broadcast the same to serve as a deterrent to others.

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The writer is a company administrator with experience in aviation and several other industries. His deep knowledge of issues and passion for the development of Ghana influence his articles and comments on a wide range of issues often published on both local and international media platforms.