The world is witnessing a pandemic, which is threatening the human race without discrimination. It knows not the rich, poor, scientists, religious leaders, young, old nor destitute. Even the Greatest Economies in world (G20), and the Permanent Five (P5+1) of the UN Security Council are in battle with this deadly pandemic. Yes, Black Death Plague in the 14 century (1347-1357), took almost 200 million lives, Small Pox (1520) rampaged almost 56 million people, and not forgetting the Spanish flu of 1918-1919, claimed almost 50 million lives. The apprehension and economic repercussions of COVID-19 in the world of 21st
Century is expected to be catastrophic, according to the Economist paper and World Bank Projections. COVID-19 perhaps is serving more than a disease pandemic. To quote António Guterres, the UN Chief, “COVID-19 is menacing the whole of humanity- and so the whole of humanity must fight back.” The UN Chief is right. Almost 2/3rd of the world is currently under a complete or partial lockdown, as reported by several news outlets; BBC, CNN, CNBC, Daily China et al, all because of the mysterious enemy of a virus, we cannot see with our eyes. Countries like Canada, New Zealand, USA, Germany, Singapore and France, have come out with emergency economic measures to help citizens to survive in this hard times. For instance, Canada PM Justin Trudeau announced a $500 weekly support for 16 weeks ($2000 monthly), for all who have lost their jobs in the COVID-19 crisis.
In Africa, South Africa, Kenya and Rwanda have so far announced some economic packages as well, which will be a relief to businesses and citizens. India, with an estimated population of about 1.3 billion, announced a look down 48 hrs ago. Before this happened, food reserves were efficiently stocked in buffers and most essential exports were remitted into the country to support the economy and to provide the basic needs of citizens. All these measures are tough and unpleasant to make. We are indeed in difficult and abnormal times. After recording her 132nd confirmed case and 3 death of COVID-19, Ghana is in a serious dilemma, whether to lock down the country or not? Which could be best describing the ‘witches dance’; you move forward, you lose your father, and with a backward step, you lose a mother.
Considering our social setting where it is very difficult to stay indoors for even a day, and still be able to acquire 3 meals. The economic status (middle income) will also be in downturn. This is where health economics come in; the health of the population vis-à-vis the economics of the health system and the economy. It is really tough for a total lock down. However, human transportation between and within the three (3) cities; Tema, Accra and Kumasi where infections have been confirmed, can be halted for at least 4 weeks, until we are done with effective testing and isolation. This, again, is a tough decision to make.
I urge landlords and house caretakers to have mercy on their tenants in this trying time. The greedy folks hoarding basic goods or essentials should at least change for good, after yesterday’s fasting and prayers. In my earlier submission, I called on the buffer stock company to be on standby, in order to support in the unfortunate event of food shortage. We are indeed in difficult times. Once again, I cannot end this writ up without commending our front-line health workers and Government for the good work done so far. May the good Lord bestow on them the needed strength and wisdom to continue the COVID-19 fight. Post COVID-19, I hope we as a people will demand our leaders to put into good use, the available resources we are blessed with. At least, we now know that, we are not entitled to the usual support from the West. They are also busily fighting COVID-19. WORLD WILL BE BACK TO LIFE!
Haruna Gado Yakubu
FELLOW @ ILAPI and CEBSAR-Africa