Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah says a lockdown will not be an effective way of solving the country’s coronavirus challenge.

He said what the country needs is an aggressive testing mechanism which will ensure that vectors of the Covid-19 viral nodes will be tested, isolated and be given treatment.

According to him, in the event of government finding a need to escalate measures to control the spread of the virus, options will not be limited to just a lockdown, rather an increase in testing facilities across the country.

Speaking to Kojo Yankson on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Friday, the Minister cited the South Korean model to buttress his point.

“If you look at the South Korean model, they did not have to actually have a lockdown, what they focused on was test, test, test.

Coronavirus

“And the thing about test, test, test as the WHO advised is that, the more you test, the more numbers you will get but it helps you to find all the persons who may have viral nodes in them and treat them.

“Now the other countries that did not test, test, test have had numbers get out of hand and as a result, they have had to just go on lockdown with the hope that they can arrest any potential spread,” he explained.

But have been several calls for a lockdown but the Ofoase Ayerebi legislator said it would only be a delay, but would not eradicate the problem.

“A lockdown on its own just for about two weeks, three weeks, or whatever period you give to it without the compliment of ensuring that there is an aggressive testing mechanism in place to find if any person has viral nodes in them and bring these persons to a place where they can get some sort of treatment is only a two weeks delay.

Lockdown without aggressive testing is only a delay – Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
Infectious Diseases Unit at the Tema General Hospital

“What would have happened is that you’d have locked down, inconvenienced people, inconvenienced the economy, inconvenienced particularly the poor and the vulnerable only to lift it in two weeks or three weeks and then the surge continues.

“So you’d have delayed but not stopped the challenge,” he said.

“So the various options available to the government if it chooses to escalate measures would not just have to be what some call a lockdown, but would have to be a targeted donation of options that allows you to aggressively ramp up a testing module so that you can do the most important thing which is to find if you have any elements in the community that have viral nodes and get them assistance,” he revealed.

The Minister also pointed out that a lockdown may be detrimental to the livelihood of the less privileged in society.

According to him, Ghana’s large population of people living in poverty will be gravely affected by a lockdown and the President is deeply concerned about them.

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“The other thing about the lockdown as the President mentioned yesterday is that we have to consider not the rich who have three, four-bedroom homes, who can store food because they have refrigerators, who have some money to stock up for two weeks or three weeks, they will most likely be fine.

“But the thousands of people who are poor who don’t have income that can last them a number of days, who don’t have even options to store food, they become the most important group you have to pay attention to and the president is very, very concerned about them”.

He said countries that had hurriedly called for lockdown without catering adequately for the needs of the less privileged are reaping havoc as is the case in Jordan and South Africa where poor people are rioting because they are hungry and stuck at home.

“A situation that is happening in certain townships in South Africa where after they went for a full lockdown the people in the townships are now getting to a near rioting situation,” he said.