Operation COVID Safety begins lockdown with roadblocks

Accra, March 29, GNA – Operation COVID Safety, the national security task force enforcing the COVID-19 Safety Operations, says all is set for the lockdown of Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) and Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area, as directed by the President.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) Dr Sayibu Pabi Gariba, Director, National Operations, Ghana Police Service, and a Member of the Operation COVID Safety, said in line with the Presidential Directive as part of the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country, the combined team of the police, the armed forces and other security agencies would be on the ground from 0100 hours on Monday, March 30, to enforce the lockdown in the affected areas.

Speaking on Sunday at a press briefing, he said there would be roadblocks at the Weija Tollbooth on the Accra-Winneba Road, at Adam Nana on the Kasoa-Amansaman Road, at Kakraba Junction on the Kasoa-Nyanyano Road.

The rest are Ayi-Mensah Toll Both on the Accra-Akropong Road; Asutsuare Junction on the Tema Akosombo Road; Oyibi on the Accra Dodowa Road; Santo on the Ashaiman-Madina Road, and at Tsopoli on the Tema Akosombo Road; as well as along the Tema-Accra Beach Road.

Within the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan Area, there would roadblocks on the Kumasi-Mampong Road at Mamponten; Takyi Number Two on the Kumasi-Obuasi Road, and all other principal roads leading into Kumasi.

DCOP Dr Gariba said their deployment would also cover market centres, shopping malls, and all the other areas that have been articulated by the President.

“We have set up our operations command centres, we have done our briefings. We have also deployed resources to the locations. Some crash barriers have been sent to appropriate locations within the day. And then of course our vehicles, logistics are in place,” he said.

“So, by the time that the President has set, you will see our security agencies in place.”

“We are set to enforce the Presidential Directive. But this is a humanitarian operation and that is how we are going to run it. It is not an operation that is going to intimidate the people,” DCOP Dr Gariba said.

“We are looking at the sensitivity of the people; we are serving and that is how we are going to run it. But in going forward we also want to convey to the people that security is a joint effort and joint action. We want to appeal to Ghanaians that they must also support the security agencies in delivering this (all) important task the President has given us. We want their cooperation and collaboration.”

He said his men would ensure that the Presidential Directive was enforced to the letter; adding that those in the exemption category would be granted passage once they can prove their identity with valid identification cards.

“And we will also make sure that we are flexible to be able to engage the people to serve them to serve the purpose of the country,” he said.

“We look at these operations as a humanitarian operation. It is not a war. It is a humanitarian operation. We are all fighting the coronavirus. So we need support from the population to be able to do that. We are not going to intimated anybody.”

He said the task force was rather going to support the Ghana Health Service and the people of Ghana to be able to fight the coronavirus pandemic and achieve the overall objective of the President.

DCOP Dr Gariba said their operations for the enforcement of the restrictions of movement of persons would go according to the demarcations that have been outlined by the President.

He said the task force was going to mount roadblocks along the peripheries of the demarcations but for security operations to be able to get the maximum effect, they were going to do outer cordons and inner cordons.

Colonel William Nortey, the Director of Army Operations, representing the Ghana Armed Forces, said the armed forces are providing military assistance to the civil authority with the police in the lead, adding that “we are in the background supporting”.

He said on the military side, they have mobilised over 2,000 army, navy and air force to support the police in executing the task.