When we were kids we had a saying; “Police Go, Soldier Come”. We said it anytime we took someone’s seat in his/her absence and he/she wanted it back on arrival.

That statement is simply telling the previous owner to forget about sitting on that chair, it belongs to the new person sitting on it now.

It is interesting how the whole world is all about COVID-19 now and deservedly so.

The rate of infection is mind-blowing, and the number of people who have died (and still do) is mind-boggling.

More than 221,890 people have been infected worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

While 85,790 people have recovered from the virus, 8,999 people have died.

Europe has now been identified by the WHO as the “epicentre of the epidemic”.

The alarming nature of the virus has forced several countries around the world to adopt safer measures to stem the spread.

This includes shutting down airports, imposing travel restrictions and completely sealing their borders.

This is being implemented by more than 50 countries.

Here in Ghana, while people have been urged to stay at home as much as possible, social distancing is also being encouraged for others who still have to leave the comfort of their homes.

What I find interesting about Ghanaians, however is that once a ‘new disease’ comes on the block, no other disease matters again.

It’s like the deadly effect of old ones become null and void. All of a sudden, we have almost forgotten that cholera is very prevalent, AIDS is still deadly and malaria is still representing heavy.

Just last month, Health officials in Tema raised concerns about the latest HIV/AIDs statistics which put the municipality far above the regional figures.

Out of the 14,900 people who tested for the deadly virus in Tema, 1,222 were found to be positive. 

 This was an 8.2 percentage increase from the 2018 figures which recorded a total of 7,830 people being tested, of which 1,156 people were found to be positive.

Scary, but forgotten.

In February, the Ghana Meteorological Agency also warned of floods in parts of Accra and Kasoa on the onset of rains in March.

According to the Agency, areas such as Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Weija and the Graphic road will be the hardest hit owing to man-made factors including chocked drains and buildings blocking waterways.

And with Accra no where close to being the cleanest city in Africa, this means a possible cholera outbreak.

Again scary but ignored.

I understand the effects of COVID-19 are deadly, but I would urge us to also remember to keep diseases and viruses we battle at bay.

Meanwhile, staying safe is important.

So let’s remember to make hand washing a priority. Always endeavour to wash your hands regularly. Wet your hands with clear running water and soap. Lather your hands and scrub the back of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails. After this, rinse the lather off thoroughly under running water and dry the water off.

We must always cover our mouth when coughing or sneezing. The use of tissue will help prevent the spread of the virus. Immediately after using the tissue, dispose off it and wash your hand. In the absence of a tissue, cover your mouth with an elbow to prevent contact with others

But most importantly, report to a medical centre without delay when you have fevers, cough and sudden breathing difficulty. It is also very important to share your recent travel history with medical professionals.

If you have returned from any affected area in the world and have developed a sore throat, high temperature or runny nose, see a healthcare provider.

We must all be citizens and not spectators.