Coronavirus in Ghana: Traders in Accra leave nothing to chance

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As Ghana records new cases of the coronavirus pandemic, the government has issued specific directives on public activities including the need for market centres to practice a high level of hygiene.

A visit to the Makola Market at the Central Business of Accra shows many traders and patrons in nose masks and hand gloves.

“ We can’t expose ourselves to any virus, I bought my nose mask and hand gloves as soon as the President gave his address last night,” Jina Asiedu, a dealer in cosmetics told JoyBusiness.

Ghana has so far recorded six confirmed cases of the Coronavirus.

President Akufo Addo, as part of the public measures to prevent a possible community, spread tasked the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to coordinate with the Metropolitan and Municipal and District Assemblies on measures to enhance conditions and hygiene in markets across the country.

With thousands of people visiting Ghana’s market centres daily, traders in Accra are leaving nothing to chance in protecting themselves and even their customers.

John Smith is a father of three who came prepared to the market. With a nose mask and a pair of gloves, Smith says public awareness is all that is needed to contain the spread of the virus.

“It is all about protecting myself and family. I have no issues wearing a nose mask all day if it is to protect my health and that of others,” he remarked.

Hand sanitizers

As awareness level soars, so does unnecessary panic levels which have left essential commodities like hand sanitizers on high demand.

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Checks by JoyBusiness shows that a 5ml hand sanitizer which hitherto goes for GH¢5 is now for sale at GH¢15.

The high jump in prices has seen other traders improvising. “I go-round with a polythene bag imploring friends and colleagues to share some of their hand sanitizers with me,” Nana Yaa – a mango seller – told JoyBusiness.

There are now, officially, six coronavirus cases in Ghana, according to the Ghana Health Service. This was disclosed by the Ghana Health Service at a news briefing at the Information Ministry on Sunday afternoon.

This means that from the time the first two cases were made public the number of COVID-19 cases in Ghana has increased by 200%. Five of the cases are all Ghanaians with one foreigner, a Norwegian.

The five Ghanaians had returned from the United States, the UK and Turkey. They are all in quarantine and stable condition, according to the Ghana Health Service.

The potential impact on the economy

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says the government is analyzing the potential impact of the Coronavirus pandemic to Ghana’s economy and trigger the relevant response to minimize it.

Speaking in an address to the nation on the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, President Akufo-Addo said, “Government is analyzing the potential impact to our economy of the virus and trigger the relevant response to minimize it.”

He added, “We began to engage with the pharmaceutical industry to assist in producing as much of the logistics required to prevent and combat the virus as possible under the circumstances.”

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President Akufo-Addo said the pandemic serves as an opportune time for the country to strengthen its productive capacities.

He said, “Indeed we must take advantage of this crisis to strengthen our domestic productive capacities so we can advance our self-reliance and reduce our dependence on foreign imports. Necessity they say is the mother of inventions.”

Projected oil revenue

In the 2020 budget, the government projected to get about $1.5 billion at a benchmark price of $62.6 per barrel for its oil revenue, due to the effect of the outbreak of the coronavirus on oil demand and the sudden price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia oil prices are now hitting about $30 per barrel.

The government could lose about half of the projected oil revenue for this year.

This is if prices continue to decline or stays at around $30 a barrel for the rest of this year.

But does this now put pressure on the government to quickly review its budget estimates before July this year?

Globally, there are about 153, 517 confirmed cases (10 982 new), 5735 deaths (343 new). China has 81, 048 confirmed cases (27 new) 3, 204 deaths (10 new).

Outside of China, 72, 469, there have been confirmed (10, 955) 2, 531 deaths (333 new).

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