MPs react to relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions with mixed feelings

Accra, June 2, GNA-Some Members of Parliament (MPs) on Tuesday had mixed feelings on the relaxation of restrictions regarding the Coronavirus disease, announced by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo last Sunday.

While some applauded the President for easing the restrictions, others were of the view that it was ill-timed, not well-intended and pre-matured; and prayed that the Government would not employ the relaxing of the restrictions for Bio political advantage.

However, there was consensus that all the Covid-19 protocols, including; the washing of hands under running water, cleaning hands with alcohol based hand sanitizers, sneezing and coughing into tissue papers and disposing them off immediately; and observing physical and social distancing among others.

“I want to applaud the President for easing the restrictions that relate to Covid-19,” Mr Benito Owusu Bio, MP for Atwima Nwabiagya North Constituency said, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), at the Parliament House, in Accra on Tuesday.

But Deputy Minority Chief Whip and MP Ada Constituency Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe-Ghansah said: “I’m not in support of the easing of the restrictions,” adding that increasing numbers of the people affected by the disease was not good for the relaxation.

The virus had affected more than 8,000 people in Ghana, with 38 deaths reported and 2,986 recoveries; and the President in the address, announced easing of some restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

The GNA wanted to know MPs reaction on the President Akufo Addo’s address last Sunday, May 31, On Sunday, May 31, President Akufo-Addo gave his 10th address to the nation since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Ghana.

According to the President, while final year students in university, Senior High and Junior High Schools can return to school from June 15 to prepare for their exit exams, congregants of churches and mosques could also meet with a limited number of 100 worshippers for duration of one hour.

These directives according to President Akufo-Addo are to be observed amid strict social distancing protocols and other safety measures including the wearing of face masks.

Additionally, Ghana’s borders were to remain closed while special arrangements are made for Ghanaians stranded outside the country to be brought home.

However, beaches, night clubs, sporting activities and political rallies however continue to be banned.

Mr Owusu Bio commended the President for engaging in wider consultations, including medical professionals, the Ghana Health Service and international organisations, for which he said the President, came out with sound recommendations at every stage of the development of the disease in Ghana.

He welcomed the increase of the number of people from 25 to 100 at social and religious gatherings.

Mr Owusu Bio said reopening of schools for final year students was also in the right direction; but he however insisted on the Covide-19 protocols being observed.

Mrs Cudjoe Ghansah, however argued that the President should have maintained the restrictions and continue to monitor the disease rather than easing the restrictions.

She urged the Government, through the Ghana Health Service to provide updates at the district for MPs, the District, Municipal and Metropolitan Chief Executives to be abreast with Covid-19 figures and the kind of interventions to put in.

Deputy Majority Chief Whip and MP for Kpandai Matthew Nyidam, did not understand why the Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) was crying wolf over the relaxation of the restrictions, recalling that the NDC’s General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia had said the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP)introduced the Covid-19 restrictions for political advantage.

Mr Nyidam said: “Nana Addo announces relaxing the restrictions, and again they are saying, for political gain, for the National Identification Authority (NIA) and the Electoral Commission to help us (NPP) to rig the elections? Which is which? What at all do they want? Whatever they do, the registration will go ahead. ”

He acknowledged that some nations were also easing restrictions in as much as the disease was not yet done away with; and supported the gradual easing of restrictions by the President.

Dr Kwabena Donkor, MP for Pru East said he foresaw the announcement of the relaxation of the restrictions, but had serious concerns-such as over congregation of people, inadequate preparation including; more medical vigilance and more education.

To him, churches and mosques must still remain closed.

As for funerals, the Pru East MP noted that some communities in rural areas may have less than 100 people and as such the 100 people capping may not affect them.

On the return of finalists at the Basic, Secondary and the Tertiary Levels, he called on the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to come out with modalities on how the broad policies for reopening of the schools was going to be implemented.

Mr Michael Yaw Gyato, MP for Krachi East, praised the President for announcing the relaxation of the measures.

“It is a good one,” he said, but added that it was necessary to still observe the Covid-19 protocols.

“When the restrictions were announced, we followed them,” he said adding that “people love their lives. Ghanaians will still observe the protocols in the church and mosque. If it becomes necessary to come up with more restrictions, I think they will be done.”