Wednesday, 27 October

Vincent Djokoto’s Diary: If you’re reading this, stay home

Feature Article
Vincent Djokoto

The question on the minds of many perplexed Ghanaians is: would this dreadful phase be over anytime soon? Yes, it shall pass. I do not know how long it will take; the brightest scientists and soothsayers are equally uncertain. But together, we’d weather the storm and enjoy the pleasures of social life once more.

I’ve been inspired by national values we need to preserve: solidarity and charity. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens have donated medical equipment to hospitals, shopped for the elderly (who are at a higher risk of severe medical conditions, once infected) and distributed items to street hawkers.

Personally, I’ve ordered takeout for delivery a few times, not only because my culinary skills are questionable, but to support my favourite local restaurants stay in business. Although I agree, it is more responsible and healthier to cook at home in such times; better safe than sorry.

I believe Ghanaians have taken social distancing and self-isolation seriously. We’ve reached a consensus that it is the most effective way to flatten the curve. I’d usually provide practical examples except I’ve come to grips with this new lifestyle too and haven’t been around town.

I’ve noticed, nonetheless, that the elderly, even those hitherto completely out of touch with modern technology, have suddenly adjusted to the digital age. Your loved ones and business associates are a phone-call away. Please, stay at home and work from there.

This goes to the President too: it is much better to hold video conferences, whenever possible, rather than summon people to the Jubilee House.

It isn’t just health workers at the frontline of this struggle anymore. The dynamics have changed. All of us are at the fore of this battle too.

Please avoid social contact unless absolutely necessary. A lockdown, unfortunately, is not ideal. Our national purse is not heavy enough to compensate civil servants, businesses and sole-traders in an event of a lockdown. I’m afraid the economic implications of a lockdown could lead to severe political instability; a possible insurrection is not farfetched.

Unemployment and economic stagnation, nonetheless, are likely to worsen over the next few months if the pandemic is not brought under control. This could result in civil disorder too.

Journalists and the media fraternity have demonstrated courage and resilience throughout the healthcare crisis. The fourth estate of the realm have done exceptionally well to keep the Republic informed, educated and entertained. Ghana embassies must emulate this. Foreign missions should help find medical equipment in their host countries for export or donation back to Ghana.

A bit off topic but if I may ask: who else washes their hands, unwraps a new set of surgical gloves and toothbrush everyday as part of extreme personal hygiene measures? On that note, take care of yourself, stay safe and may God be with you.

Source: Vincent Djokoto