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