Not wearing a nose mask in public is still a crime in Ghana

The Thunder newspaper has observed with disappointment the unashamed disregard for the COVID-19 safety protocols by a majority of Ghanaians seen in public and how the law enforcement agencies seem to have given up on implementing that particular law.

For the records, the Executive Instrument that makes it mandatory to wear nose masks in public is still in place and has not been repealed.

Fact is that anyone seen in public without a nose mask or any form of covering on the mouth and nose areas risks being arrested and prosecuted in a law court of competent jurisdiction.

“A person who fails to comply with the restrictions imposed under the Executive Instrument issued under subsection 1 of Section 2 commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than 1,000 penalty units (GHS12,000) and not more than 5,000 penalty units (GHS 60,000) or to a term of imprisonment not less than four years and not more than 10 years or to both”, is clearly stated in Section 6 of Act 1012 yet we have thousands of persons in every part of this country walking without observing the restrictions.

In our usual characteristic nine-day-wonder Ghanaian attitude, there were a few media-hyped arrests and prosecutions at the early stages when the Executive Instrument was passed.

A few months after that, we compromised on our short-lived commitment and went back into default setting, completely unperturbed about the consequences of disregarding the COVID safety protocols. .

The Thunder is worried about the blatant disregard and the continuous nature of it because the country is not immune from the virus yet and could easily relapse into another wave of infections.

Even in the medically advanced countries, they have suffered multiple waves of infections with scary death statistics and reports of over stretched medical facilities.

Ghana does not have the capacity to contain just a small fraction of the horror happening in other countries yet the average Ghanaian seems unconcerned about observing the very safety protocols that would prevent the spread of the virus.

The general attitude from the public is as though they are doing someone else, a favour by wearing the nose mask. People now behave as if they should be forced to wear the mask and that it is Government that should be blamed if the virus spreads and bursts into another wave.

Truth be told, this is a collective responsibility and no right thinking person should be proud of disregarding the safety protocols. Apart from the disregard of the protocols being a criminal offence in itself, it is simply a reckless near-suicide behavior.

In as much as we expect stricter enforcement measures to be put in place, we also expect the Ghanaian to do the right thing.

COVID-19 is not over yet, Ghana is still not out of the danger zone and everyone must observe the laid down safety protocols and stop the criminally minded stubbornness.

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