In the wake of the novel COVID-19 pandemic, countries are experiencing severe shocks as most people are on a lockdown. Ghana was under a partial lockdown for three weeks till the ban was lifted on April 20, 2020 by the President. The World Health Organization (WHO), the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and its collaborating partners have played major roles in coming out with preventive measures to help curb the spread of the virus.
Ghana has recorded almost 3000 cases. The country’s capital Accra, has the highest cases followed by nine other regions, Asanti, Eastern, Northern, Oti, Volta, Central, Upper West, Upper East and North East Regions respectively.
Frontline workers including doctors, nurses, security personnel and abled partners are working tirelessly to help combat the virus before it spreads widely in the regions.
What is Social Distancing?
Johns Hopkins Medicine defines social distancing as deliberately increasing physical space between people to avoid illness. It demands a physical space of at least six feet from other people to reduce the chance of being infected with COVID-19.
Social distance is an essential element to keep the virus in check and slow down the spread. According to the President’s directives to suspend schools and social gatherings that bring crowds together is a bold initiative to reduce the spread of the virus. Social gatherings in Ghana are now limited to 25 people hence people must practice working from home instead of going to the office, closing of religious and entertainment activities and cancelling of large meetings.
These measures will help slow down the virus and grant health care workers more time to assist with the cases that we have.
My Thoughts On Social Distancing.
Social Distancing has become a form of a saviour in these times. It is the essential element to help tone down the spread of the virus, however how often do we practice social distance?
In place of warmth and comfort, now we are told to stay away with a cold distance of 3 to 6 feet from each other. We barely shake hands and we are told to cover our faces with masks whenever we step out. We are told to wash our hands regularly with soap under running water to prevent us from contracting the virus. The pandemic has created a huge stomp on the way we feel and threat people today. How is Social distance possible in a community where shaking hands and hugs are a welcome note to every person. Some Ghanaians ignorantly feel offended when others are adhering to social distancing protocols and see it as a sign of arrogance and pride.
But let’s be honest, how safe are we on the kind of distance we keep away from people. Breaking the rules does not make you smart or mighty rather it shows your inability to understand how a virus of this kind can wipe you in a matter of days if your case should worsen.
We claim social distancing is not working but right in our homes we refuse to practice so. Sitting back and adding our voice to others claiming market women are not practicing the precautionary measures, our tro-tro stations are still flooded with passengers and yet you sit close to your neighbour to play Ludo because you are bored at home. It seems the message has not sank in well with Ghanaians on the seriousness of the pandemic.
It is a must to adhere to the laid down measures in order to save yourself and the masses. Your negligence to act by wearing a face mask, keeping your distance from people and regularly washing your hands will increase our already shooting numbers of COVID-19 cases.
What we can do to help.
Corona virus is spread from person to person through droplets from an infected person when they cough, sneeze or spit. It can be a direct contact with the infected person or droplets on surfaces and objects. A healthy person can be infected via respiratory droplets or may get into the eyes, nose and mouth through contaminated hands from touching infected surfaces.
Keep your distance:
Let’s agree on the fact that social distancing is of good help to our fight against Covid-19. The saying that goes “if you stay in your home, the virus stays, but when you move, the virus moves’’ is indeed a fact to check.
Keep a distance of 2 metres to 3 metres from others at work places. When shopping, do so alone in a free space. Stay away from crowded places and diligently advice others to do so.
It may sound difficult in our part of the world however, we all must endeavour to observe physical distancing to keep away from unwanted cases.
How tough can this be when you deliberately keep a wide distance between you and someone with bad mouth odour. You can equally treat corona virus the same and keep a distance from people to save yourself. The virus we know does not spread on its own, it’s a human who spreads it when they are being reckless.
Wash hands regularly/ Use alcohol-based sanitizers:
We are advised to wash our hands regularly with soap under running water and also to use alcohol based sanitizers in cases where we don’t have access to soap and water. Doing this regularly will help lower your chances of getting infected.
Use of Face Masks:
It is advisable to put on a face mask anytime you are going out. In the midst of people, one may not know who is infected and you may stand the chance of getting infected. Wear a face mask whenever you join a taxi or tro-tro and likely when you have to interact with people.
Our frontline workers are doing a massive job by ensuring that the spread of the virus reduces. They risk their lives each day to fight and keep you safe therefore you need to do your part as an individual to help save yourself and the vulnerable. Let’s take advantage to educate ourselves and others to stop the spread, a step which does not cost a thing.
The writer is a level 300 Journalism student at the Ghana Institute of Journalism